The insurance industry has started its campaign to derail the Obama health care reform agenda. In DC at least, we’re seeing ads from the “Conservatives for Patients Rights” with its chairperson Rick Scott.
In a piece at The Nation, Chris Hayes gives the background on the guy the right wing has chosen as a spokesperson. He’s a real sleazebag. If you care about health care reform (and you should), read the whole article. For starters:
Having Scott lead the charge against healthcare reform is like tapping Bernie Madoff to campaign against tighter securities regulation. You see, the for-profit hospital chain Scott helped found–the one he ran and built his entire reputation on–was discovered to be in the habit of defrauding the government out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
So, big surprise that this guy wants to make sure there is no real reform. Typical right-winger. But, this is apparently the best the anti-reform side can do. Yet, the traditional media falls for it, of course:
But in Washington there’s no such thing as permanent disgrace, and as the healthcare debate heats up, Scott has established himself as a go-to source for reporters looking to hear from the opposition. He’s been quoted in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. He’s been on Fox, of course, railing against President Obama’s efforts to control healthcare costs. He appeared on CNN, where (as Media Matters noted) host Jessica Yellin never saw fit to notify viewers that the man she introduced as running “a media campaign to limit government’s role in the healthcare system” once ran a company that profited mightily from ripping off that government.
Indeed, if there’s one thing that’s most galling about Scott’s antigovernment jihad–and most emblematic–it’s that for all his John Galt bluster, he made his fortune (which, yes, he still has) in no small part thanks to steady contract fees from the Great Society’s entitlement programs.
There is somebody calling out Rick Scott:
Congressman Pete Stark, a veteran of the last bruising round of fighting over healthcare reform, remembers Scott all too well. Stark recently sent his colleagues a letter hoping to refresh their memories. Calling Scott a “swindler,” the letter said, “If he is the conservative spokesperson against healthcare reform, there is no debate.”
A swindler. Sounds about right.