Both President Donald Trump and Sen.Rick Scottwould like to see the Affordable Care Act overturned. We all know that.
Now Trump has appointed Scott and two other Republican senators (Wyoming’s John Barrasso and Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy) to a panel that will look closely at implementing an ACA replacement plan. But this is also Trump World, where deliberate, vetted appointments to priority positions–as opposed to impulsive, seat-of-the-pants decisions–are hardly the norm. We’ve seen it countless times in his Cabinet appointments.
In naming Barrasso and Cassidy, Trump at least gets loyal GOPsters who are physicians. The former is an orthopedic specialist, the latter a gastroenterologist. Scott was picked because he used to run one of the country’s largest hospital networks, Columbia/HCA.
Only one problem. Scott’s medical background includes having to resign from Columbia/HCA in the aftermath of the hospital network being fined $1.7 billion by the Department of Justice for Medicare fraud. At the time, it was the largest health-care fraud settlement in U.S. history. Scott’s either a clueless CEO or a crook.
If Scott stays on the case, that means Florida’s avatar of health-care fraud will be Trump’s point man for replacing the ACA. That means the national spotlight will be on a fraud scandal–including some cringe-worthy deposition optics–and the scandalous selection of Scott to speak credibly about health care reform.
But maybe there’s a short-term upside for the self-serving, first-term senator. The health care fiasco is diverting attention from Scott not signing a bipartisan letter to the Trump Administration requesting the granting of Temporary Protection Status (TPS) to Venezuelans in the U.S.–in effect, siding with the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant policy.
The bottom line: Scammers and schemers such as Trump and Scott deserve each other. The rest of us deserve so much better.