Times/Herald video: Rick Scott talks about his executive order to review state-run hospitals
Gov. Rick Scott took a few questions from reporters after addressing members of the Florida Association of Counties at a reception Wednesday night. Reporters' questions are paraphrased and in italics.
What's your logic on the new executive order on taxpayer-funded hospitals?
"Well, what I want to do is I want to do is review, you know, we're spending a lot of tax dollars to do this, and I want to make sure that the dollars are spent well, understand how those dollars are spent, are we getting return for those dollars, is it helping us with reducing the cost of healthcare, which is the biggest issue we have in healthcare, it's really the cost of healthcare, and so that's basically it.
But those are local tax dollars. In other issues you've said you don't want to interfere with what they're doing locally. And second, when you were at HCA/Columbia, someone thought you had a very antagonistic relationship with hospitals, and that you thought maybe they weren't carrying their full weight.
"What I want to do is make sure that our state is competitive, all right? So every tax impacts an individual's decision to even live in this state or a business decision to do business in this state, so every tax is important to us. Second, shoot, I have a really good working relationship. I bought a lot, gosh, a lot of great not-for-profit hospitals. I had a lot of joint ventures with not-for-profit hospitals."
But did you feel those weren't doing a good enough job or weren't focusing on what they should have been doing when you bought them?
"Well, when I ran Columbia/HCA, my job was to have -- I was a competitor. So I tried to have lower costs, better outcomes and better patient satisfaction. That's what I was focused on."
What about ports? Everybody says you need to go beyond that, there has to be way to move freight from the ports.
"I think we've got to focus on one, we've got to have the ports. Then we got to have the distribution system come out of the ports, and part of that's gonna be highways and part of that's gonna be rail. So what I'm gonna be doing, and what I've been doing, is visiting our ports, understanding the entire logistics, because you're right, it's not just dredging a certain number of ports to get ready for the Panama Canal, it's a whole distribution system. And different ports are also going to serve as different areas."
Are you supportive of allowing House and Senate leaders to create their own political leadership funds, or do you see it as a threat?
"I don't see it as a threat."