Anti health care reform activist gets into GOP Florida Governor's race

Bill McCollum is coasting in his bid to be the Republican nominee for Governor this year, easily defeating State Senator Paula Dockery, with the winner to face Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink in the fall.

So what's Rick Scott's case for getting into the race?

Scott is best known for being a passionate advocate for the status quo when it comes to health care in this country.  Scott and his group, Conservatives for Patients Rights, spent millions of dollars over the past year trying to stop the health care reform bill that passed Congress and was signed by the president last month.

In a press release, Scott said:

“I am running to give Floridians a clear choice between a set of Tallahassee insiders who are professional politicians, or a successful businessman with a track record of creating jobs, balancing budgets, and getting results.  We can no longer afford to elect career politicians who sit on their hands while our economy crashes around them,” Scott added.

Scott takes credit on his new Web site for eliminating the public option from being part of the final health care bill passed.  He was a very prominent critic of attempts by Bill and Hillary Clinton to get health care reform passed in the 1990's.

No doubt Scott is going after the Tea Party, mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it-anymore bunch with his call for fiscal rectitude, saying,

“My first initiative to reign in government and grow the economy will be to implement what I call Accountability Budgeting.  I’ll require each state department and agency to set annual goals for every dollar they spend.  And I’ll measure their performance against those goals and hold them accountable for their outcomes.  Forcing the bureaucrats to justify the way they spend our tax dollars and holding them accountable will help eliminate waste, increase efficiencies and eliminate ineffective programs.”

Notice how he doesn't draw attention to something that Democrats - and Paula Dockery- have been saying of late: that the entire Republican Party of Florida is rotting from the top, and Bill McCollum is part of that sleaze factor.

Scott is the founder of two health care providers, Columbia Hospital Corporation and Solantic Corporation.  In 1994, Scott went on to buy HCA, Inc (that's the nation's largest for-profit hospital company, that was founded by former GOP Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist’s father, and his brother was formerly its CEO and chairman and remains on the board of directors).

Three years after he became CEO of Columbia/HCA, in 1997, the FBI nailed HCA hospitals in five states. Ultimately,  three executives were indicted on charges of Medicare fraud, and the board fired Scott.  An investigation determined that Columbia/HCA had been bilking Medicare while simultaneously handing over kickbacks and perks to physicians who steered patients to its hospitals.

Ultimately, the company paid a total of $1.7 billion in criminal and civil fines.

Some Democrats have reacted with excitement upon Scott's late entry to the GOP Primary.  Then again, there's still more than four months to go.  Will Republicans who have given McCollum such a healthy lead all of a sudden ditch the Attorney General to support a candidate with no elective experience?  And besides his criticism of ObamaCare (which McCollum shares), how will he distinguish himself?  He may spent a lot of money trying to.

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