Political Correction

Rick Scott Fumbles Health Care Op-Ed

July 10, 2009 10:59 am ET

On July 10, 2009, Real Clear Politics posted an op-ed written by Conservatives for Patients Rights' founder Rick Scott.  He is evidently still under the impression that his fraudulent past and his current retail-based venture that profits off the under- and uninsured makes him a health care expert.  To get his misleading point across, Scott uses the awkward analogy of a football field to inaccurately paint a picture of the current health care reform debate.

The CBO Has Not Scored The House Health Care Bill

Rick Scott: "Yesterday the Congressional Budget Office scored the House version of a health overhaul bill at $1.5 trillion, that is, if you believe those rather optimistic estimates." [RealClearPolitics.com, 7/10/09]

The House Bill Has Not Been Scored. According to the Huffington Post: "The Press Offices of the House Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce and Education and Labor Committees released the following statement today in response to an inaccurate report published in CongressDaily asserting that the House Tri-Committee health care reform legislation has been scored by the Congressional Budget Office: 'This report is premature and entirely fabricated. In fact, none of the reporters working on this piece contacted our press offices to fact check their story. The three House committees are still working to develop legislation and have not yet received a score from CBO on the discussion draft. As the three chairmen have made clear, our health care reform legislation will be paid for and we're still considering revenue options.'" [Huffington Post, 7/7/09]

"Independent" Source Accepted Money From McCain Campaign

Rick Scott: "Congress, after all, has a history of underestimating the costs of the programs they fund. In fact, the independent HSI Network scored the House's initial draft at a heart-stopping $3.5 trillion." [RealClearPolitics.com, 7/10/09]

McCain Campaign Paid HSI $50,000 For An Assessment. The New York Times reported that the "HSI Network [is] a Minnesota consulting group that was paid $50,000 by the McCain campaign to assess" the health care proposals of Senators McCain and Obama during the 2008 election.  [New York Times, 10/22/08]

HSI Estimates Are "Not Exact" And Based On Assumptions. The New York Times reported: "'Every candidate should say that these numbers were produced by my experts and they're my best estimates but they're not exact,' said Roger D. Feldman, a health economist at the University of Minnesota who directed the HSI studies...Dr. Feldman and other economists said politics and relationships did not sway their science. But they said estimates could vary widely because of the assumptions they must factor into their formulas." [New York Times, 10/22/08, emphasis added]

Define "Few"

Rick Scott: "...a government-run health care plan that few, if any, really need." [RealClearPolitics.com, 7/10/09]

"Twenty Percent Of Americans Say They Have Delayed Or Postponed Medical Care, Mostly Doctor Visits, And Many Said Cost Was The Main Reason." According to MSNBC: "Twenty percent of Americans say they have delayed or postponed medical care, mostly doctor visits, and many said cost was the main reason...That figure is up since 2006, the last time the question was asked on the survey, when 15.9 percent of people said they had postponed or canceled medical care in the past year." [MSNBC.com, 4/20/09]

American Families Already Faced With Cancer Diagnosis Also Have Difficulty Paying For Health Care.  According to a Lake Research Poll: "Half (52%) of families with a person under 65 who has had a cancer diagnosis say they have had difficulty paying for health care costs.  Additionally, close to half (47%) of those currently receiving cancer-related care has had difficulty affording care." [ACSCAN.org, 5/20/09]

Scott Unaware Of How Private Insurance Firms Treat Their Patients

Rick Scott: "We'll be stuck with a government-run health plan that rations care, forces us onto unacceptable waiting lists, and denies us lifesaving drugs we desperately need." [RealClearPolitics.com, 7/10/09]

Health Care Rationing Is Practiced By Private Health Insurance Firms

After Caesarean Section, Company Told Woman She Would Be Insurable If She Had Been STERILIZED.  The New York Times reported on a woman who was turned down for private health insurance because her first child was delivered via caesarean section: "Having the operation once increases the odds that it will be performed again, and if she became pregnant and needed another Caesarean, [the insurance company] did not want to pay for it. A letter from the company explained that if she had been sterilized after the Caesarean, or if she were over 40 and had given birth two or more years before applying, she might have qualified." [New York Times, 6/1/08]

Private Health Insurance Firms Force Americans To Wait For Care, If They Approve Care At All

Rather Than Waiting In Line, Americans Simply Do Not Get Care. As Ezra Klein argued in the Los Angeles Times, "although Britain and Canada have decided that no one will go without, even if some must occasionally wait, the U.S. has decided that most of us who can't afford care simply won't get it." [Los Angeles Times, 4/7/09, emphasis added]

Private Health Insurance Firms Flatly Deny Care

Insurance Applicants Rejected Based On Height And Weight.  In an article offering advice on what to do when you lose your health care, the Washington Post reported: "'In the past four or five years, I've had people turned down just because of height and weight,' says Jerry Patt, an [health insurance] independent agent in Gaithersburg who has been in the business for more than 35 years. 'They could be having no medical problems whatsoever, but their build was not acceptable.'" [Washington Post, 6/22/08, emphasis added]

Scott Calls Nearly 70% Of The American Public "Nobody"

Rick Scott: "In short, Congress wants to spend all that cash on a plan nobody wants." [RealClearPolitics.com, 7/10/09]

Nearly 70% Of Americans Want A Government Option.  A new poll released by Quinnipiac University revealed that 69% of Americans want a government-run health insurance option. [Quinnipiac.edu, 7/1/09]

Nearly 60% Of Americans See Government Involvement In Health Care As A Way To Curb High Costs.  According to a Washington Post/ABC poll: "58 percent said they see government reform as necessary to stall skyrocketing costs and expand coverage for the uninsured." [Washington Post, 6/24/09]

More Than 60% Of Americans Think The Federal Government "Should Guarantee" Health Care For All Americans.  According to a CNN poll, 62% of Americans "think the federal government should guarantee health care for all Americans." [CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll, 5/14-17/09]

Scott Doesn't Want A Public Option Because It Will Hurt His Bottom Line

Rick Scott: "At this very moment, the leading proposal on Capitol Hill is the 'public option,' which is a nice way of saying 'government-run health care.'...That, in turn, would force more Americans to turn to the government for coverage, costing taxpayers even more, and ultimately driving the country further and further into an ever-growing cascade of debt that we'll never recover from." [RealClearPolitics.com, 7/10/09]

Public Plan Option Would Lead To Lower Premiums. According to the Institute for America's Future, "The clearest evidence of the savings produced by the public plan is its premiums, which are estimated to be about 23 percent lower than comparable private insurance for the same set of benefits for the same population." [Institute for America's Future, 12/17/09]

Senate Bill Costs Less Than What Has Been Set Aside To Pay For Health Care Reform

Obama Has Set Aside $634 Billion For Health Care Over Ten Years. The Washington Post reported that President Obama set aside a "$634 billion reserve fund over the next decade." [Washington Post, 2/26/09]

Senate Democrats' Health Care Reform To Cost $611 Billion Over Ten Years. Reuters reported that the CBO scoring of the Democrats' "plan to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system has dropped to $611 billion over a decade." [Reuters, 7/2/09]

Scott Makes His Money From The Private Care Business

Scott Made His Money In For-Profit Health Care.  CNN Money reported: "Scott [built] his startup, Columbia Hospital Corp., into a giant - and imposing an alien culture of profit making on an industry dominated by nonprofits." [Money.CNN.com, 4/9/09]

Scott Pledged To Put Non Profit Hospitals Out Of Business.  According to The Nation, in 1994 Scott "promised to put nonprofit hospitals--which he insisted on referring to as 'nontaxpaying' hospitals--out of business and touted his company's single-minded pursuit of profit as a model for the nation's entire healthcare system." [The Nation, 3/11/09]

Scott: Nonprofit Hospitals Are "Staid And Inefficient."  According to CNN Money: "In the 1990s, Scott became a target after ridiculing nonprofit hospitals as staid and inefficient." [Money.CNN.com, 4/9/09]

94% Of Health Insurance Markets Are Without Competition

Rick Scott: "The White House and Congress...have given their assurances that a government-run plan won't compete and won't exploit any competitive advantages over private insurance companies. Few believe it. After all, what would be the point of adding one more insurance option to the 1,500 or so that are already available in America, if it's not going to make a difference?" [RealClearPolitics.com, 7/10/09]

Only A Few Insurance Companies Dominate The Market, Leaving Americans With Limited Choices In Health Care.  According to the American Medical Association, 94 percent of United States health care markets are considered highly concentrated, meaning that one company or a small group of companies control a great deal of the market. [American Medical Association, "Competition in Health Insurance," 2008 Update]

United States Could Save Nearly $50 Billion A Year If A Public-Private System Were Enacted.  According to a report from the Institute for America's Future, "the United States spends nearly six times as much per capita on health care administration as the average for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations...Indeed, according to research by the Commonwealth Fund, the United States could save up to $46 billion a year if it spent what other countries with mixed public-private insurance systems, such as Germany, spend on insurers' administrative costs." [Institute for America's Future, 12/17/09]

All Rhetorical Questions Aside, A Public Option Will Benefit Americans

Rick Scott: "How will spending what amounts to a football field filled with our tax dollars actually lower our health care costs?" [RealClearPolitics.com, 7/10/09]

Including A Public Plan Option Would Produce The Most Savings.  According to a health care reform proposal put forth by the Commonwealth Fund, savings would be most significant under a plan with a public health insurance option.  The study compared three health care reform scenarios - "one would limit enrollment through the insurance exchange and access to the public plan to individuals and small employers," one "would limit choices in the insurance exchange to private plans, eliminating the public plan option," and the third would include a public plan option with open enrollment.  The study found that the "exchange that sponsors a public plan option, in addition to private plans, and is open to all employers...would achieve the greatest reduction in spending growth." [Commonwealth Fund, 2/19/09]


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