Experts and lawmakers agree: Universal health-care coverage is a necessity.
But Hillary Rodham Clinton isn't the person who can offer the best plan, said Richard L. Scott, president and CEO of the largest comprehensive health-care service provider in the nation."I favor universal health coverage for Americans," Scott said. "But it needs to come from the private sector."
Scott offered a peek at the blueprints for the future of his company at a St. Mark's Hospital medical staff retreat Saturday in Park City. Scott's Columbia Hospital Corporation merged with HCA in February to form a virtual Goliath in the health-care world.
With the merger, Columbia acquired St. Mark's and the Davis Hospital and Medical Center. In total, the $11 billion company boasts more than 196 hospitals, 96 outpatient surgery centers and other health care facilities in 26 states, England and Switzerland.
Posters displayed at the retreat strongly suggest HCA/Columbia is less than pleased with Clinton's efforts to mandate universal coverage through the federal government.
One depicts a gleeful, whip-wielding first lady clad in black leather who is forcing Americans to stand in an endless line for medical attention.
"Just think about it. Hillary Clinton is the person that has the largest impact on health care in the country," he said. "There is plenty of money in this industry to take care of everybody. But they are heading in the wrong direction."
Scott said Clinton's task force - and other lawmakers attempting to flush health-care bills through Congress - promote reductions in Medicare, a "Big Brother" control over providers and price controls.
"Bill Clinton is a good communicator and if we don't get active we may well be working for the federal government," he said.
If the White House does persuade Congress to pass the current health-care bill, physicians may be to blame, Scott said.
"Everything that is happening now is our fault. When someone wants to get elected, we should sit down and ask `what is your position on this issue?' " he said. "There is no reason those involved in health care shouldn't be able to change the political world if we get involved."
Scott plans to integrate various services to deliver patient care with maximum efficiency and low cost.
"It is like a WalMart approach to health care."
Scott said the health care consolidation will not create a monopoly. Merged facilities can streamline operations and share equipment and personnel to cut costs, he said.
HCA/Columbia expects to net more than $200 million in annual cost savings from its recent mergers.
Because allianced facilities save money, health-care costs will decline, he said.