Saturday, April 04, 2009

Richard Scott & Tom Scully: Two Sides of Health Care Deform Coin

For-profit health care burst from the gate in the high stakes race to shape health reform. They have an early lead in the seventh running of the Coveage Stakes, given the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lingo used by President Obama and his senior advisers. In an odd twist, Richard Scott works against the President's plans while Tom Scully favors portions.

Richard Scott is the past CEO of Columbia/HCA, a huge for-profit hospital chain. Under his ruthless, bottom line obsessed leadership, HCA paid a $1.7 billion fine for paying physicians for referrals and fraudulent billing practices.

Richard Scott strongly believed in pay for performance. Those systems distorted behavior, similar to the decade long experience of executive stock option compensation. That pure incentive compensation plan produced widespread backdating, at least cheating and most of the time illegal.

Ironically, President Obama endorses pay for performance in education and health care. Richard Scott and Barack Obama share foundational management practices, however bad. They differ on policy.

Tom Scully endorsed aspects of President Obama's reforms. Scully was the head of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid under President Bush. Prior to that he was CEO of the for-profit hospital trade group, The Federation of American Hospitals. In the late 1990's Tom worked closely with Richard Scott, advocating the for-profit hospital agenda in Washington, D.C.

Tom turned the Medicare Prescription Drug Program into a windfall for big pharma and state Medicaid programs. But the private sector called, specifically lobbying for Alston & Bird's numerous health care clients. Scully worked alongside Tom Daschle and Bob Dole at Alston & Bird.

The lobbyist became a private equity underwriter (PEU), rising to General Partner at Welsh. Carson, Anderson & Stowe. WCAS owns Richard Scott's company, Solantic, a provider of urgent care medical services. Tom Scully sits on the Solantic board.

Why would a progressive website excoriate Richard Scott and laud Tom Scully, when they are two sides of the same coin? To give the illusion of watching the public's back. Nancy-Ann DeParle, White House Health Reformer, has the same background as Scott & Scully. She's a PEU.

The fix is in. More people will be covered, but it's citizens who'll pay. Government and business are ready to step back from their historical obligations. That leaves the individual and personal responsibility. Prepare to fund your retirement and health care coverage.

The race to the global lowest common denominator on worker pay/benefits is on. It occurs on the same track as the race to toothless financial regulations and lower taxes for corporations and the wealthy. It's a wonderful world we live in. Leadership is absent, but greedership and bleedership abound.

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