Medicare Fraud: Obama-Backing Super-PAC Ties Scott, Romney

Photograph by Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/MCT/Getty Images

Florida Governor Rick Scott greets Mitt Romney during a rally at Flagler College, in St. Augustine, Florida, on August 13, 2012.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who won election despite a business record including a company engaged in Medicare fraud, is not the most popular politician.

The super-PAC backing President Barack Obama is counting on both that and the Medicare voucher plan that Mitt Romney’s running mate included in a Republican House-passed budget to work against Romney in the closing days of the campaign.

In one ad, Priorities USA Action has wrapped Scott’s history, Rep. Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan and Romney’s already reported involvement in a company that defrauded Medicare into  a “connect the dots” message for senior voters in the Sunshine State.

“Mitt Romney and Rick Scott. Connect the dots,” the narrator of the super-PAC’s ad says. “Scott ran a company that paid a record fine for committing Medicare fraud.  Then, as governor, Scott cut millions from healthcare. Romney was director of a company that stole millions from Medicare.  Now, Romney’s plan would end Medicare as we know it.  We’ve seen this picture before. Just connect the dots.”

“If Romney wins,” the ad concludes, “the middle class loses.”

In his private equity career at Bain Capital, Romney served on the board of Damon Corp., which defrauded $25 million From Medicare for unnecessary blood tests. He made $473,000 when Corning Inc. purchased Damon in 1993, the Boston Globe has reported.  Damon Corp. pleaded guilty in 1996 to a federal conspiracy charge of defrauding the government of $25 million between 1988 and 1993. It paid $119 million fine and penalty.

Romney claimed that he helped uncover the fraud, Politifact has reported, but prosecutors gave the credit to Corning for stopping the fraud. In the book, “The Real Romney,” authors Michael Kranish and Scott Helman wrote: “On the one hand, he said he hadn’t known what was going on at Damon; on the other, he said he’d helped to put a stop to practices later found to be fraudulent. One thing that looked good at Damon was the bottom line for Bain. In the end, it was a profitable deal for both the firm and Romney, however tainted by legal troubles and layoffs it may have been.””

Scott was co-founder and CEO of a company that committed the largest Medicare fraud in U.S. history, ending with the hospital-operating company Columbia/HCA paying a record $1.7 billion in fines, penalties and damages.

Scott invested tens of millions of his own money into his 2010 election campaign.

His public approval ratings have run low since narrowly winning the governor’s office.

Florida is the biggest of the swing states, the share of elderly voters there greater than in any other state.

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