Our guest blogger is Kenneth Quinnell, a Tallahassee-based political activist who operates a group website, Florida Progressive Coalition.
On Friday, ThinkProgress attended a campaign rally in The Villages, a retirement community in Central Florida, that featured former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, current Florida GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott, and a number of other Florida Republican candidates.
Recall, Scott presided over a hospital company — Columbia/HCA — that was hit with one of the largest penalties ever for Medicare fraud, eventually paying $1.7 billion in fines and other fees. In his campaign for governor, Scott has made a point of focusing on national issues rather than state issues. One of his top targets has been health care reform, and he frequently calls for a repeal of ObamaCare — as he did at Friday’s event.
Scott’s appearance with Romney was ironic, considering the former Massachusetts governor’s greatest accomplishment was enacting RomneyCare, a health care reform law that closely mirrors the bill signed into law by President Obama. RomneyCare, like the Affordable Care Act, contains an individual mandate, establishes exchanges to regulate insurers, and provides subsidized plans to expand coverage. As Republicans have targeted Obama’s health reform efforts, Mitt Romney has been forced to defend his own efforts.
We caught up with Rick Scott in the Villages and asked him his opinion of RomneyCare. He scrambled for a response. “RomneyCare?” he asked, flashing a quick grin, and then proceeding to dodge the question. “Well, you know, I was focused on the national debate, so I didn’t really focus on that.” Watch it:
It makes sense for Scott to try to dodge the question, considering how unpopular ObamaCare is with his base and the similarities between ObamaCare and RomneyCare. ThinkProgress attended two events with Romney on Friday, at The Villages and another rally with Republican Senate candidate Marco Rubio in Land O’Lakes, Florida. At both events, we asked attendees what they thought of RomneyCare. Their reactions were largely negative:
Fox News pundit Dick Morris said on Friday, “I think Rick Scott is a criminal who belongs in jail not in the governor’s office.”