Yesterday, NBC broadcasted End of Patient Rights: The Human Consequences of Government Run Healthcare, a 30-minute “documentary” produced by Rick Scott’s Conservatives For Patients Rights. The ad, which felt like a poorly-designed infomercial slated for the witching hour, followed Rick Scott and former CNN producer Gene Randall as they traveled to Great Britain and Canada, interviewing patients, medical professionals, and academics about the deficiencies of single-payer health care.
Scott himself is a poor spokesperson for the consequences of health care rationing. As Lee Fang explains, Scott started the Hospital Corporation of America/Columbia Hospital Corporation, with the goal of doing for hospitals “what McDonald’s has done in the food business.” Through an aggressive strategy of rapid acquisitions and consolidation, Scott turned his business into one of the largest health care companies in the world. But by the time Scott resigned and the company reached a $1.7 billion fraud settlement with the federal government for systematically over-billing Medicare and stealing from taxpayers, HCA/Columbia had become infamous for doing what Scott now so loudly decries: rationing care. (Watch a short video about Scott here.)
Still, in 1993 and 1994, Scott successfully opposed President Clinton’s health reform efforts. Since then, the cost per person of American health care has more than doubled, with an annual growth rate regularly more than twice that of inflation. A growing number of Americans are struggling to afford health insurance, but Rick Scott is using the very same hollow rhetoric to oppose reform now, as he did then. ThinkProgress has compiled this video. Watch it:
Certain nefarious Democrats — we won’t tell you who — want to import British and Canadian health care into the United States, the infomercial argued. Should they succeed, Americans will lose access to their doctors and spend years on a government list, awaiting surgery.
But despite the “journalistic feel” and clear messaging, Rick Scott is no Billy Mays. For no matter how loud his message was, his point was still unconvincing. The documentary conflated deficiencies of the foreign health care systems with American reform efforts but failed to cite a single Democrat who advocates copy-and-pasting the British or Canadian examples; Scott didn’t explain which Democratic proposals would lead to rationed care or engage in the substance of the President’s principles. He presented the Democrats’ reforms not as they are, but as conservatives wish for them to be.
Cross-posted on the Wonk Room.