Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Rick Scott---Profiting off of the Uninsured

I came across a must-read article about Rick Scott today in Salon [link included below] and decided to share some of the highlights.

Rick Scott owns Solantic--a chain of urgent-care companies across the country---and has been involved in a significant amount of the propaganda against government healthcare since the mid-90's. He founded Conservatives for Patients' Rights and can be seen spouting their anti-reform rhetoric here.

Rick Scott, as illustrated by this Salon article, treats healthcare as an "growth industry", one that should (and did for him and his shareholders at one point) turn double-digit profits every year. His business model at Columbua/HCA, a company at which he worked until being ousted during a major scandal, is described below by Maggie Mahar, a journalist for Barron's.

<<"I think it's basically impossible to achieve the level of profitability they wanted in the hospital business. You can't expect double-digit profits from a hospital. It's a very tough business. You need a lot of people. You need a good nurse-to-patient ratio to keep patients comfortable and respond to emergencies. And it's unpredictable; you don't know how many patients on a night shift are going to get sick. So you can't trim down to the bone. When you do, people die.">>

After being booted from the hospital industry in 2001, Scott started the aforementioned Solantic clinics chain. This chain, which primarily targets the uninsured via fee reductions for cash payments and rushes patients in and out for maximum profit, allows him to profit in the absence of a public option.

Solantic's first Regional Medical Director, Dr. David Yarian, who quit amidst an argument in which Scott clearly emphasized profit over patients, had this to say:

<<"The whole design was for people to get in and out quickly," Yarian says. "I believe the target was 50 patients a day based on a 12-hour day. But no clinic works that way, especially urgent-care clinics where people don't make appointments." The business is too unpredictable. "But Rick and Karen had never run a clinic. He wanted to turn it into a McDonald's. His whole point was volume and speed.">>

It's clear that people like Rick Scott are leading the fight against healthcare reform and that their hunger for the bottom line is what prevents them from endorsing any sort of policy that would ensure coverage for all Americans. Unfortunately, groups like his Conservatives for Patients' Rights are finding plenty of supporters and their efforts are well funded.

Spreading awareness about the dangers of half-assed or no healthcare reform should be one of the foremost current goals of progressive organizations. People like Rick Scott shamelessly distort the truth for their own bottom-lines while providing substandard care to those who often have nowhere else to turn.

Spread the word.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Most Dangerous Nuclear Facility in the Middle East

Here's a 3D rendering of the most dangerous secret nuclear facility in the Middle East.

Hint: It's not in Iran.

...Give up? It's in Israel!

Here's a link to University of Michigan History Professor Juan Cole's article discussing the matter. While Obama prepares to reduce the US's own nuclear arsenal, it's more than a bit hypocritical to constantly threaten Iran on this matter when Israel continues to develop nuclear weapons.

This is especially relevant in light of recent Iranian missile tests and nuclear "defiance". Israel's nuclear weapons program is, as Professor Cole writes, the primary drive behind nuclear arms development elsewhere in the Middle East. If there's anyone to blame for this proliferation, it's the Netanyahu government.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

G20 Coverage

A lot is going in Pittsburgh. Here is a link to the G20 coverage at indypgh

More information and the global indymedia site is here (

Also some good twitter accounts to follow @g20imc , @resistg20

Petition for Repeal of DOMA

DOMA=Defense of Marriage Act, and for the last 13 years, according to Arshad Hasan at, DOMA has deprived same-sex partners 1,100 federal protections and responsibilities that apply to married couples. DOMA even says that same-sex couples who get married in a state that recognizes gay marriage, like Vermont, do not have to be recognized in other states, like California (down with Prop 8!!).

Click here to sign a petition (hosted by Credo) urging your Congressperson to support and help pass the Respect for Marriage Act which, if passed, would repeal DOMA entirely and require the US Government to give benefits to individuals in same-sex marriages.

Kevin Drum for Mother Jones on Anti-Overdraft Fee Legislation

Here's an article by one of my favorite bloggers at one of my favorite publications about new overdraft fee legislation. Although I'm sure there're a couple randoms out there who might be interested in defending the poor, disenfranchised banking industry, I'd like to think that overdraft fees anger people of virtually all political persuasions.

But, if you read the article and thought to yourself, "...but how will those starving bankers survive without my $35.00 surcharges for accidentally buying a coffee without transferring money??", I'm sorry.


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