Governor Rick Scott has done the Madness in Madison one better—instead of wasting time paying off political supporters and other intermediaries, Scott has decided to institute “RickyCare” in the state of Florida, as in “Ricky only cares for himself”, with new laws and mandates that will put money from Florida’s citizens and Florida state government directly into his family’s pocket.
As Florida Gov. Rick Scott reorganizes health agencies, cuts spending and pushes for new free-market health policies, his ownership of Solantic, the urgent care chain, increasingly poses conflict of interest questions.
Scott’s efforts to distance himself appear to be designed to meet the letter of Florida ethics laws, if not the spirit.
They may not succeed if challenged, warned legal and ethics expert Marc Rodwin, a law professor at Suffolk University who is the author of several books on health care and conflicts of interest.
“Placing his ownership in the name of his wife is not an effective way to control for conflicts of interest and not generally accepted because they are personally related,” Rodwin said.
There is nothing wrong with a governor owning a private business while being governor, even if he is a Republican. There are established protocols at most levels of government to accommodate these kinds of circumstances, protocols that are designed to discourage any abuses of privilege and minimize the appearance of any conflicts of interest due to a governor’s official actions.
Scott would be wise to specify that Solantic be left out of any government drug testing contracts, advised Bruce Rogow, a Nova Southeastern law professor who has defended elected officials accused of public corruption. So far, that hasn’t happened.
“If I were the governor and I wanted there to be drug testing, and I owned a company that did a lot of drug testing, I would tell agencies to leave out my company,” Rogow said.
But “Rickycare” plows through the concept of gubernatorial ethics like an eighteen wheeler through a plate glass storefront. It’s hard to believe Floridians knowingly elected Scott, the proverbial fox, to guard the henhouse, but now that they’ve got him, it seems that many of them wish they could have voted for someone else. This seems to be a constant refrain around the country these days as scenes like these are being repeated across the nation in states whose legislatures and governorships are dominated by the Republican Party.
The one thing you don’t have to wonder about “Rickycare” is whether or not it is a “socialist fascist communist Marxist plot”, because “Rickycare” is straight up gubernatorial thuggery.