GOP Convention Forces Mitt Romney Onto Same Stage as Unpopular Florida Gov. Rick Scott

August 07, 2012

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On the Upside: Two GOP Leaders Have Rare Opportunity to Compare Notes on How Their Health Care Companies Systematically Defrauded Medicare at the Expense of Seniors, Taxpayers


For Immediate Release

August 7, 2012

Washington, DC – Try as he might, Mitt Romney will no longer be able to avoid one of the nation’s least popular governors when the GOP gathers in Tampa in a few weeks. The Republican National Committee announced Monday that Florida Gov. Rick Scott will give a speech at the convention before Romney is crowned as the party’s presidential nominee. This will break Romney’s streak of 54 consecutive public appearances in Florida without a trace of Scott. But it isn’t all bad news for Romney, the leader of the Republican Party.
 
“Rick Scott and Mitt Romney both made personal fortunes defrauding Medicare and exploiting people for personal gain, so it’s fitting that they’ll share the national spotlight and remind America what the Republican Party is all about,” said Ethan Rome, executive director of Health Care for America Now. “First they stole from Medicare and now they want to get rid of it and leave seniors high and dry. When they’re backstage, maybe they can compare notes on the best ways to deny people needed care to pay for tax breaks for the super-rich.”
 
“Social Security is going to be their next target,” said Edward Coyle, executive director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “Mitt Romney will raise the retirement age and make seniors wait years longer to collect their Social Security benefits. Then retirees will have neither health care nor rent money, and the Scott-Romney team can really celebrate.”
 
Romney and Scott each served at the highest levels of private companies that padded corporate profits with millions from methodical Medicare fraud. Federal prosecutors finally had to step in to stop the lying and cheating at both companies.
 
During his tenure as CEO of private equity firm Bain Capital, Romney sat on the board of Damon Corp., a diagnostic testing company, while it cheated Medicare out of millions for unnecessary tests. Damon eventually pleaded guilty to Medicare fraud and paid $119 million in civil and criminal fines. The U.S. attorney later said it was a case of “corporate greed run amok.” Romney personally earned $473,000 in director’s compensation from Damon during the time of the fraud. Bain, which specialized in buying troubled companies, turning them around, and then selling them for a profit, tripled its investment by selling Damon to a company that closed a key Massachusetts facility and laid off 115 people.
 
Scott was CEO of hospital giant Columbia/HCA for 10 years before a federal Medicare fraud investigation cost him his job and resulted in one of the biggest fraud fines in U.S. history. Columbia/HCA eventually pleaded guilty to multiple counts of Medicare fraud and paid more than $1.7 billion in civil and criminal penalties, but Scott managed to walk away with a golden parachute that left him rich enough to finance his extremist political career.
 
“Romney and Scott have a lot in common: Each got rich by subjecting vulnerable seniors to taxpayer-funded mistreatment and waste, and now each supports a GOP budget that would end Medicare as we know it and shred the Medicaid safety net for seniors and the middle class,” said Rome.
 
“Maybe the theme of the Republican convention should be, ‘Seniors, you’re on your own,’” said Coyle. “If Romney and the Republicans have their way, they’ll gut Social Security and take away Medicare and Medicaid and every other protection America’s seniors have earned.”
 
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Contacts: David Blank, 202/637-5275 or dblank@retiredamericans.org
               Avram Goldstein 202/744-1925 or agoldstein@healthcareforamericanow.org


Health Care for America Now is the nation’s leading grassroots health care coalition and led the fight to win health reform. HCAN works to promote the Affordable Care Act, protect Medicare andMedicaid, and keep Congress from being steamrolled by corporate special interests.
 
The Alliance for Retired Americans is a national organization that advocates for the rights and well being of more than 4 million retirees and their families.

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