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Maddow Blog | Does Rick Scott really want to relitigate his Medicare scandal?

Maddow Blog | Does Rick Scott really want to relitigate his Medicare scandal?

The Senate was in session yesterday, though Sen. Rick Scott missed some of the proceedings on Capitol Hill. It wasn’t because of an illness or a family matter, but rather, the Florida Republican decided to attend Donald Trump’s criminal trial in New York City.

Scott wasn’t a witness or a party to the case in any way. Instead, he apparently wanted to show his support for the former president — he reportedly drove with Trump from Trump Tower yesterday morning — in part by being on hand, sitting in the front row of the courtroom, and in part by holding a press conference of sorts outside the courthouse where he peddled pro-Trump talking points to reporters.

In fact, the GOP senator had all sorts of things to say. Scott condemned the prosecution as “despicable.” He took rhetorical aim at Judge Juan Merchan’s daughter. He whined about the gag order. The senator even argued, “If they can go after the former president, they can go after you,” which happens to be true: If prosecutors have evidence that you falsified business records after making hush-money payments to a porn star, you should probably expect to be indicted, too.

But that wasn’t the interesting part. Rather, it was Scott’s claims about his own victimization that stood out for me. Rolling Stone reported:

“I’m fed up,” Scott told reporters. “I watched what happened to me and my company.”

As part of the same Q&A, Scott claimed that he was an opponent of the Clinton administration’s health care reform initiative in the early 1990s, adding, “After it was defeated, [Hillary Clinton] used the Justice Department to go after me and my company.”

The GOP senator apparently made the same claim on Fox News a few hours earlier, claiming that his Medicare scandal was the result of a conspiracy because he “fought Hillarycare.”

If Scott, who’s up for re-election this year, really wants to relitigate this, we can, but it seems like a topic he should want to avoid.

For those who benefit from a refresher, before becoming a far-right politician, Scott led a company called Columbia/HCA, which faced a federal fraud investigation over Medicare. As the FBI’s investigation advanced, Scott resigned as CEO, though he nevertheless faced considerable scrutiny — including an infamous civil deposition in which the Republican asserted his Fifth Amendment rights 75 times.

Scott’s former company ultimately pleaded guilty to 14 felonies and was fined $1.7 billion. It was, at the time, the biggest Medicare fraud case in American history.

Though the article is no longer online, The Miami Herald reported in 2010 that federal investigators “found that Scott took part in business practices at Columbia/HCA that were later found to be illegal — specifically, that Scott and other executives offered financial incentives to doctors in exchange for patient referrals, in violation of federal law, according to lawsuits the Justice Department filed against the company in 2001.”

As Rolling Stone’s report added, the Florida Republican even used to express a degree of contrition over the matter, telling voters in 2010, “I’ve made mistakes in my life. And mistakes were certainly made at Columbia/HCA.”

That was 14 years ago. Now, evidently, Scott has settled on an entirely new position: He was a victim of a secret Justice Department plot orchestrated by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Even by contemporary GOP standards, this is awfully weird, though the Republican incumbent is generally seen as likely to win re-election anyway.

This article was originally published on

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