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Posts Tagged ‘Independents’


Posted by FactReal on November 2, 2010

Farewell address to the Florida House of Representatives.

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Posted by FactReal on November 2, 2010

Election results via primary sources.
FLORIDA ELECTION RESULTS via Florida Division of Elections

MIAMI ELECTION RESULTS via Miami-Dade County Elections Dept.

Marco Rubio acceptance speech
Allen West victory speech
FL-25: Democrat Joe Garcia concedes…CBS4 continues trashing David Rivera!!
FL-AG: Republican Pam Bondi wins, will be Florida’s next attorney general

Michelle Malkin is liveblogging the 2010 midterm results
GOP Wins Back House From Pelosi Regime
Florida’s 8th: Republican Daniel Webster Defeats Democrat Alan Grayson
Same New Black Panther; Same Polling Place; Same Polling Threat!
Soros Vote Counters
“Racist Teabaggers” Elect Allen West, Nikki Haley, Tim Scott & Marco Rubio
(The “racist” tea partiers elected two black representatives, a Cuban-American senator and an Indian-American female as governor.)

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FLASHBACK: Bill McCollum Defended Rick Scott in 1998 from Clinton’s Abuse of Power

Posted by FactReal on October 30, 2010

In the early 1990s, Rick Scott was one of the most vocal critics of Hillary Clinton’s health care plan (a.k.a. HillaryCare). Under Bill Clinton’s administration a myriad of ambiguous and complex Medicare regulations were created. Full compliance was not feasible. It was more a game of gotcha and revenue than of law enforcement. The government was criticized in the media for classifying simple mistakes as “fraud.” Dozens of prestigious health care institutions paid millions in fines, including Yale Hospital, Duke University Hospital, Harvard University Hospitals, University of Chicago Hospitals, Johns Hopkins, and industry giants Tenet and Columbia/HCA.

In 1998, then-congressman Bill McCollum defended health care providers like Columbia/HCA against the Clinton Administration’s witch hunt:

Here is a re-print of McCollum’s 1998 speech:


in the House of Representatives


[Page: E434]  GPO's PDF
  • Mr. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, today I join my colleague from Massachusetts, Mr. Delahunt, in introducing the Health Care Claims Guidance Act . This legislation recognizes that, in our zeal to crack down on health care fraud and abuse, we must be careful not to throw our nets so wide that we ensnare honest providers who are making inadvertent billing mistakes. Ensuring that health care providers comply with all federal, state and local laws and regulations is, and always has been, a priority. At the same time, we should not carelessly paint all health care billing mistakes as billing fraud.
  • Many hospitals and other health care providers have received demand letters from the offices of U.S. Attorneys asserting that the provider may be guilty of fraudulent billing and threatening the imposition of treble damages plus $5,000 to $10,000 per claim under the False Claims Act unless a quick settlement is reached. In some cases, demand letters have been sent based on alleged overbilling of less than $100. In one case, a demand letter was sent to a hospital for overbilling in the amount of $8.79 on a single claim over a one year period.
  • The most innocent of providers often feel forced to settle these claims instead of facing the prospect of an automatic $10,000 fine for a small disputed amount. Even if a provider could clearly prove their innocence and show that these claims resulted from innocent clerical error, they would be likely to settle the case rather than incur large legal costs. The numbers speak for themselves. In fiscal year 1997, there were 4,010 federal civil health care fraud matters pending but only 89 cases resulted in the actual filing of a civil complaint. The large majority were settled.
  • Considering that providers are faced with a federal health care payment system of more than 1,700 pages of law and over 1,200 pages of regulations interpreting those laws, as well as thousands of additional pages of instruction, it is inevitable that human error will occur and that erroneous claims will be submitted. Every day, providers submit over 200,000 federal health care claims , adding up to 73 million claims per year. Considering the sheer volume and complexity of such claims , it is unreasonable to view every single billing mistake as fraud that merits the threat of the severest civil sanctions.
  • Mr. Speaker, the Health Care Claims Guidance Act provides a clear and simple way of distinguishing between those claims that are fraudulent and those claims that result from human error. The bill establishes a deminimus threshold requiring that the amount of damages in dispute be a material amount for an action brought under the False Claims Act . The deminimus threshold would be established by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. This requirement would protect against the use of the False Claims Act for small, erroneous billings which likely result from human error.
  • In addition, the legislation would provide safe harbors for reliance on government advice or written policies. There is no better example of fundamental unfairness than when a private party relies on government advice but is then threatened with court action for having done so. The Health Care Claims Guidance Act would also provide safe harbors for claims that are in substantial compliance with model compliance plans. Affirmative defenses would be established for these situations.
  • It is clearly in the public’s interest for parties to work together to prevent health care billing mistakes from occurring. Providers should actively seek out trouble spots and quickly flag problems to government agencies. At the same time, in order to further the goal of compliance, federal agencies which administer federal health care programs should be encouraged to assist providers in the early detection and correction of practices which may result in a disputed claim. By encouraging such self-policing, providers and government agencies will be able to work together to root out problems quickly.
  • It is clear that there are organizations and individuals engaging in efforts to defraud the federal government and we must use all of the tools at our disposal to pursue and severely punish such willful violators. In fact, during consideration of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act during the last Congress, the Crime Subcommittee worked on provisions to strengthen criminal health care fraud statutes. At the same time, there are honest providers doing their best to comply with complex health care rules and regulations who will make honest mistakes. The Health Care Claims Guidance Act provides clear guidance to ensure that the false claims of fraudulent actors are distinguished from the honest mistakes of innocent providers. I urge all my colleagues to support the Health Care Claims Guidance Act .

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RICK SCOTT’S FRAUD? He fought HillaryCare and then the Investigations Started (FL-gov)

Posted by FactReal on October 30, 2010

Did you know?
– Rick Scott was never indicted or arrested. Simply, he was never charged with any crime.
Prosecutors never attempted to depose Scott nor found evidence he was directly involved in the fraud:
Peter Chatfield, who spent seven years working on a Columbia-HCA civil case brought by two whistleblowers, said that deposing Scott was not a high priority for the case. “His e-mails were mostly motivational.” “After sifting through years of discovery documents, Chatfield said he never had a feel for whether Scott knew of any wrongdoing.”
– The convictions were tossed out for the only 2 individuals initially convicted of wrongdoing at Columbia/HCA.
On 7/25/97, Rick Scott along with 2 other executives resigned.
– Rick Scott wanted to challenge how regulations are interpreted, but the board of directors wanted to settle: Scott “took the position that the courts ultimately did, which was that there could be honest disagreement over how the regulations were interpreted,” Scott campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said.
– In 2000, three years after Scott left the company, HCA agreed to settle and pay $840 million in criminal fines and civil damages and penalties. In 2002, HCA agreed to pay an additional $881 million.
The $1.7 billion fines in context: Columbia/HCA was the largest hospital company in the nation and world in 1997. Columbia/HCA operated 343 hospitals, so a $1.7 billion fine is equivalent to approx. $4.9 million per hospital.
Whistleblowers were offered 25% of the settlement
– Janet Reno was the Attorney General (DOJ press release of Dec. 14, 2000)
– Did Scott take the 5th Amendment 75 times? Read here.

Rick Scott Fought Against HillaryCare in the 1990s
– Rick Scott, then-CEO of Columbia/HCA, coordinated private health providers to fight HillaryCare during the Clinton Administration.
– Rick Scott won. HillaryCare was defeated.

Clintons’ Revenge
– After HillaryCare was defeated, the Clinton Administration decided to give a hard time to every health care group that had opposed them. They pushed for stricter interpretation of Medicare regulations which consisted of well over 100,000 pages.

Clintons’ Witch Hunt: Simple mistakes became fraud
The Clintons targeted many health providers in addition to Rick Scott’s Columbia/HCA.
Forbes, 1998:

It’s almost a manhunt. [In 1998] As of March 375 FBI agents work exclusively on health care fraud, up from about 100 in 1992…Health & Human Services and its Inspector General’s office boast a medical fraud staff of 1,143, up a third from 1996.

With that many cops out there, they’ve got to justify their keep.

More and more, simple mistakes and misunderstandings are being labeled as fraud. […]

“The whole [focus] on infringement as opposed to flagrant violation means everybody’s guilty…So you violate something on page 44,391 — and you’re guilty. Full compliance is not feasible. The regulations are Byzantine.”

It seems pretty clear that the real aim of this game of gotcha is not law enforcement, but revenue. In all, the federal government collected more than $1 billion in fines and settlements last year. […]

It hasn’t been a hoot at Hospice of the Florida Suncoast, a $48 million (annual revenues) facility in Largo, Fla. The Inspector General’s office audited five years of patient records at the hospice in early 1996 and determined that 176 of its 15,426 dying patients were ineligible for hospice coverage. Why? They lived longer than six months.

Medicare rules say hospice patients must be terminally ill, defined as being within six months of death.

Suncoast was fined $8.9 million — equal to about five years of operating profits.

Clinton administration created a myriad of ambiguous Medicare regulations

  • In 1992, there were just ~600 Medicare investigations
  • By 1996, there were ~2,200 Medicare investigations (4x increase)
  • In 1997, there were over 100,000 pages of Medicare Regulations
  • By 1998, the government announced a program to assist hospitals in fraud prevention
  • The government was criticized in the media for classifying simple mistakes as “fraud.”
  • Dozens of prestigious health care institutions paid millions in fines, including Yale Hospital, Duke University Hospital, Harvard University Hospitals, University of Chicago Hospitals, Johns Hopkins, and industry giants Tenet and Columbia/HCA

Even the Courts agreed the Medicare regulations were ambiguous
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the regulations the Clintons put in place were so arcane and complex that reasonable people could disagree on their application and, consequently, dismissed cases filed against employees:

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the convictions of [HCA’s] Jay Jarrell and Robert Whiteside, saying government prosecutors had failed to prove that fraud had taken place. […]

U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew…said the government’s case was “not completely persuasive” and noted that even the government’s experts testified about the complexity of the Medicare reimbursement process.

In the decision filed late Friday, the appellate court agreed with Jarrell and Whiteside’s lawyers who argued that competing interpretations of the applicable law were reasonable and justified. “Reasonable people could differ,” the court said.

“This ruling should give the government pause before they charge someone with a crime when the regulations they are relying on are ambiguous,” said Peter George, Whiteside’s trial attorney. […]

The appellate decision raised questions about how successful the government would have been in pursuing criminal charges against HCA if the company hadn’t agreed to pay $95-million in fines to avoid criminal trials.

“Things would be reviewed differently today,” [HCA spokesman Jeff] Prescott said. “But given our position and the potential consequences, settling the case was the best business decision to make at that time.”

Some of the charges were before Columbia/HCA acquire the hospitals
RedState: “Additionally, some of the issues being pinned on Scott originated before he entered the picture and some came from hospitals absorbed into Columbia/HCA through merger or acquisition”

[T]he U.S. Justice Department has revealed its belief that the roots of the wide-ranging Medicare billing fraud allegations against HCA-The Healthcare Co. extend to the pre-Columbia Hospital Corp. days of the original Hospital Corporation of America and its co-founder, Thomas Frist Jr., M.D.

PRNewswire: Another example:

The indictment related to reimbursements since 1986 at Columbia Fawcett Memorial Hospital, a Port Charlotte, Fla. hospital which was acquired by Columbia in 1992.

Bill McCollum Defended Rick Scott’s Company in the 1990s
In 1998, then-congressman Bill McCollum defended Columbia/HCA against the Clinton Administration’s witch hunt:
(Congressional Records: March 19, 1998; Page E434, or here.) St. Petersburg Times

“In our zeal to crack down on health care fraud and abuse, we must be careful not to throw our nets so wide that we ensnare honest providers who are making inadvertent billing mistakes,” McCollum said March 19, 1998, when he introduced his Health Care Claims Guidance Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. […]

Columbia/HCA wasn’t the only hospital targeted by federal investigators. It was the most high-profile, however, because it was the largest private chain. The company controlled 340 hospitals, 135 surgery centers and 550 home health locations in 37 states.

With so many hospitals facing investigations during the Clinton administration, the American Hospital Association, which received major backing from Columbia/HCA, fought back in Congress with the legislation that McCollum helped sponsor.

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Posted by FactReal on October 28, 2010

BALLOT TITLE: Referenda required for adoption and amendment of local government comprehensive land use plans.


ANALYSIS: Amendment 4 would undoubtedly require additional elections. The state’s Financial Impact Estimating Conference (FIEC), which is required by law to develop an economic impact statement on amendments brought to the ballot by citizen initiative, says that how many elections would result is unknown but elections are expensive. […]

Amendment 4’s envisioned restructuring of property rights from private to public and the associated change in decision-making from the marketplace to the ballot box will likely have devastating, lasting effects on Florida’s economy, the taxpayers, and the treasuries of cities and counties throughout or state. Amendment 4, should it be enacted, will introduce a large and consistent bias against voter approval of new projects as has been demonstrated in similar situations. As a result, commercial and residential investments as well as business formations and expansions will diminish. Higher costs will emerge for approved commercial and residential investments as well as forming new businesses and expanding existing ones. Special interest groups might arise and be funded in attempts to convince a large number of people to vote for or against a given project. Funding special interest groups would further add to the cost of development. Moreover, permanent increases in the direct and indirect costs of elections will occur. Overall, the successful passage of Amendment 4 would be expensive for Florida taxpayers and could be devastating for Florida’s economy.
Recommendation: Floridians should vote NO on Amendment 4.


ANALYSIS: Opponents say that Amendment 4 will cost jobs and hurt Florida’s economy by stifling growth, thereby costing taxpayers millions of dollars…Opponents also note that because of the large numbers of comprehensive plan amendments proposed in many jurisdictions during each election cycle, the presence on the ballot of scores of highly technical questions may exacerbate Election Day congestion at polling places. However, by far the most persuasive argument against Amendment 4 may be the experience of St. Petersburg Beach, where a local version this measure has been blamed for causing higher taxes, a loss of jobs, and endless litigation.

The evidence against Amendment 4 is overwhelming. Currently, more than 334 organizations, associations, and local governments, plus every daily newspaper in the state, have taken a position against this amendment…and for good reason. Because of the detrimental impacts this amendment would have on Florida’s economy and on citizens’ property rights…
Recommendation: NO on Amendment 4.

BALLOT TITLE: Standards for Legislature to follow in legislative and in congressional redistricting.


ANALYSIS: Enactment of the confusing and contradictory standards mandated in Amendment 5 [and 6] would increase the likelihood that any redistricting plan devised by the Florida Legislature would be subject to protracted litigation and would ultimately be replaced by a plan devised by appointed judges rather than by the people’s elected representatives.
Recommendation: Vote NO on Amendments 5 and 6

The state’s Financial Impact Estimating Conference (FIEC) is a state commission in Florida that is required by law to develop an economic impact statement on amendments brought to the ballot by citizen initiative. The FIEC can’t determined the financial impact of Amendments 5 and 6, because there will be more litigations, and more challenges in the courts. This means more costs to Floridians.

The Financial Impact Estimating Conference (FIEC) expects that the proposed amendment may result in increased costs: “The State may incur additional legal costs to litigate the redistricting plans developed under the proposed constitutional standards…For example, the requirement that every district be drawn so as not to favor or disfavor any incumbent or political party may spawn challenges…These legal costs are indeterminate.”

Radical leftist George Soros, unions, and trial lawyers financing proponents of Amendments 5 and 6
Big Democrat donor financing proponents of Amendment 4

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ALEX SINK ETHICAL? Debate cheating and then lying about it…on camera! (FL-gov)

Posted by FactReal on October 27, 2010

Via Sunshine State News: “Sink was caught breaking the rules during the final gubernatorial debate Monday night. The next day she told national news media on live TV that she didn’t know who the message was from, but it was later discovered she was told it was from a staffer.”
First, Sink cheats
Then, Sink lies about cheating during the debate
CNN John King: “But we listened very closely to the audio, and the makeup artist, when she approached Alex Sink, said ‘I have a message from the staff.’ And at that point they looked, it was on a cell phone, it was two sentences. It was essentially [debate] advice after the last segment debate…”

It’s not that Alex Sink made a mistake, really: it’s that she lied about it afterward.
“[T]his was an impromptu test in Sink’s ability to operate well under pressure, and she flunked it handily. We’re just fortunate to find out about it now.”

Alex Sink v. Rick Scott: On the Issues

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