Piss Tests for Everyone

Florida Governor Rick Scott, who owns Solantic, an urgent care center chain that offers drug screens, has ordered random drug testing for state employees and applicants.

This comes on the heels of Scott’s last plan, which would push Medicaid recipients into private HMOs:

Scott’s budget would curb growth in Medicaid spending, the state-federal safety net insurance program, by requiring most recipients to join private HMOs. Solantic accepts Medicaid HMO reimbursements, but not state Medicaid, so adding clients could broaden the clinics’ customer base.

Scott’s Cato-based health advisor also wants healthcare to come in the form of vouchers that they could use to pay for direct medical care or to buy insurance. One might think that this benefits Scott, since those vouchers will be used at his clinics while insurance often limits their use, but Solantic co-founder Karen Bowling will set you straight:

Bowling said Floridians can count on Scott to do the right thing. His push to privatize government-provided health is born of deep personal conviction, not out of any designs to benefit Solantic, she said.

As long as what you know in your heart benefits big business, it’s OK to have those kinds of deep personal convictions.

93 replies
  1. 1
    Chris says:

    This comes on the heels of Scott’s last plan, which would push Medicaid recipients into private HMOs:

    Does the term “individual mandate” mean anything to anyone?

  2. 2
    Dave says:

    This can’t be legal, can it? To manipulate state law to benefit a company you still run? Isn’t that straight-up graft?

  3. 3
    Comrade Javamanphil says:

    Obamacare is forcing Rick Scott to rob Floridians blind. Poor Rick Scott. It’s good to know he has people’s best interests at heart as he takes all their money.

  4. 4
    Fwiffo says:

    After living in Florida for a few years now, I’m certain that we got what we deserved in Rick Scott.

  5. 5
    mistermix says:

    @Chris: I have no idea what you mean by this.

  6. 6

    This is how Republicans “run government like a business.”

    We had a similar issue here in TN, Republican Congress Critter Diane Black’s husband is president and CEO of Aegis Sciences, a drug testing company. Her opponent accused her of using her position in the state legislature to obtain a $1 million state contract.

  7. 7
    biff diggerence says:

    Pee Pee in da little cup.

    Asshole must be James Watt’s love child.

  8. 8
    Bullsmith says:

    Liberty!

  9. 9
    Incoherent Dennis SGMM says:

    Why doesn’t Scott just sell Florida to himself for, say, ten bucks? Republican governors seem very comfy with arrogating to themselves new powers that Gaddafi would envy.

  10. 10

    … and of course let me add, this is yet another perfect example of why Republicans don’t want to fix the awful healthcare problem in this country, indeed why they deny the very existence of a problem. There is far too much profit to be made off of a broken system.

    Back in October 2009 I pointed out that Arthur Laffer (of the infamous “Laffer Curve”) is on the board of BridgeHealth Medical, a “medical tourism” company.

  11. 11
    rikryah says:

    they knew his ass was a crooked mofo when they elected him..what did they think was gonna happen.

  12. 12

    @rikryah:

    I know. I don’t feel sorry for Florida. They got what they asked for. It’s not like we didn’t know he was a fraudster from the start.

  13. 13
    Punchy says:

    Scott’s last plan, which would push Medicaid recipients into private HMOs:

    GET MAH GUBBERMINT OUTTA MAH HEATHCAIR! Wait, uh, nevermind, he’s a Republican.

  14. 14
    Svensker says:

    @Dave:

    This can’t be legal, can it? To manipulate state law to benefit a company you still run? Isn’t that straight-up graft?

    Why do you hate America?

  15. 15
    jrg says:

    I’ve often wondered if drug tests would be as common if they involved crapping in a plastic bag, rather than peeing in a cup. My guess is that they would be less common, because let’s face it, they’re not that important.

  16. 16

    @jrg:

    As long as someone somewhere can make money off of it they will do it.

    Crapping in a plastic bag (or cup) is how they track salmonella outbreaks, BTW .. and the public health department does monitor that.

    Don’t ask how I know that. :-(

  17. 17
    geg6 says:

    @rikryah:

    Yup. No sympathy whatsoever for Floridians here. They fucking knew he was a criminal and they voted for him anyway. My friend, Randy, who has lived in FL for over 30 years and admits to never once voting in all that time, started bitching about Scott in a phone conversation the other day and I just told him to STFU or vote. I don’t want to hear it from someone who refuses to even participate in the process.

  18. 18
    Face says:

    I’ve often wondered if drug tests would be as common if they involved crapping in a plastic bag,

    The key word here is, of course, “often”.

  19. 19
    PaulW says:

    @Dave:

    This can’t be legal, can it? To manipulate state law to benefit a company you still run? Isn’t that straight-up graft?

    He’s trying to get around it by having his wife be the owner of Solantic (for the moment). But for the love of GOD, he still benefits from her being the owner, doesn’t he?

    Voting the Republicans out of the legislature and bringing impeachment charges on Rick “MEDICARE FRAUD” Scott can’t happen fast enough.

  20. 20
    jrg says:

    @Southern Beale: The need to track salmonella outbreaks is a bit more compelling than the need to figure out what someone did or didn’t smoke at a concert last weekend.

  21. 21
    MikeTheZ says:

    @Dave: IOKIYAR.

    Also, too, I read that the Supreme Court found random drug testing like this unconstitutional in 2004.

  22. 22
    Maude says:

    OT
    J. Michael, if you ever read this, unless Eddie is under something like a chair and not wanting to be near you, he is not dying. Cats go away when they start to die. Eddie isn’t going anywhere for right now.
    Some cats will hide when they are sick and then when they fell better, come back out. It’s a form of self protection.

  23. 23
    PaulW says:

    @geg6:

    Yup. No sympathy whatsoever for Floridians here. They fucking knew he was a criminal and they voted for him anyway.

    I voted. With 2.4 million other people who voted for Sink and who prayed that $75 million wouldn’t bribe enough fellow Floridians into voting stupid.

    But you’re right. The voters ARE to blame for not caring enough to vote last November. We have 11 million registered voters in this state (out of 18 million residents). Barely 5.5 million voters turned out. That’s barely HALF the registered voters. WHAT… THE… HELL.

    I blame the negative campaigning that goes on. Each mudsling depresses average voters and force them to tune out and not care, so that the only ones who show up to vote are the partisans who care too much on certain issues.

    And because Florida has no recall system (yet), we’re stuck until Scott clearly breaks a law or he pisses off enough of his fellow Republicans (which is happening, by the by) to get impeached. Or until enough angry residents kick the GOP out of the state lege next year.

  24. 24
    Gremcat says:

    The governor’s order includes senior managers as well as career service employees.

    It does not cover independent constitutional agencies and those of Cabinet members or that he jointly administers with the Cabinet. It also does not cover the Legislature or court system.

    And now he’s forming a committee in order to privatize the public hospitals. The guy isn’t even being subtle.

  25. 25
    Ash Can says:

    Hey, this guy has made a pretty good living off of medical-program shakedowns for years. Why should he stop now?

    Governor of Florida is the perfect position for Rick Scott. Vast opportunities for medical-industry graft, and he can decree his shakedowns to be law, which guarantees that he’ll never be prosecuted or convicted for them. And a population obtuse enough to elect him (and re-elect him?). That’s quite a gig.

  26. 26
    Incoherent Dennis SGMM says:

    @PaulW:

    Republicans are so pure in motive and so noble in action that although Scott will benefit financially from his actions as governor that’s just accidental. See also: Ginni Thomas

  27. 27
    Rick Massimo says:

    I don’t suppose it’s worth pointing out that a person with even a semblance of a functioning moral system would have VOLUNTARILY recused (if that’s the word, but you know what I mean) his company from taking part in the testing, so as to show his constituents that he was in fact acting out of “deep personal conviction” (which by the way is tyranny when Democrats do it).

    It probably never occurred to him.

    P.S.: Along with the graft, it’s another step in the process of turning state workers into welfare recipients.

  28. 28
    MikeJ says:

    Wouldn’t it make sense for the public sector to emulate private sector? When the privater sector wants the best and the brightest they pay CEOs exorbitant amounts of money and treat them like gods. They claim they make up for it by getting better performance.

    Why wouldn’t public employees give us better performance if incentivized in the same way? Don’t Republicans want the DMV to function well?

  29. 29
    TheStone says:

    If these tests are administered in the absence of particularized suspiction to people who aren’t working in areas related to public safety (or who have access to drugs on the job), they may well run afoul of SCOTUS precedent. And if Scott thinks that the current composition of the Court will help his cause, it’s important to note that Scalia dissented from the opinion upholding screening for US Customs agents (Von Raab, methinks). And I can tell you right now, the de minimis benefit of this testing to a “healthy and productive workplace” will be grossly outweighed by the cost of Gov. Scott’s merchandise. But, then that was the idea to begin w/, amirite?

  30. 30
    bcinaz says:

    Bowling said Floridians can count on Scott to do the right thing. His push to privatize government-provided health is born of deep personal conviction, not out of any designs to benefit Solantic, she said.

    Yeah…if that were true, she wouldn’t have to say it.

  31. 31
    RSA says:

    On the plus side, Scott is giving Carl Hiaasen decades of material to write about.

  32. 32
    ppcli says:

    @MikeTheZ: We are way behind the right wing when it comes to message discipline. Gotta drive stuff to death. OK, Somebody’s said “IOKIYAR”. But here it’s almost 30 posts and nobody’s added the other remark that is obligatory for threads like this. I guess I’ll do it:

    This must be more of that “less government” I keep hearing about.

  33. 33
    WereBear says:

    Having spent my adolescence in Florida, I couldn’t get away fast enough. It’s a gorgeous place that deserves better than to be run by scam artists and grumpy retirees; yet, that is what predominates its landscape.

  34. 34

    By the way, here’s the February 2011 “Headline Homes” listing of the top real estate transactions in the Nashville area.

    Virtually every single buyer of these million-dollar plus homes is in healthcare. Doctors, pharmaceutical company executives, and a couple “wealthy by way of motorized wheelchairs.”

    Nothing to see here, folks. Can’t imagine why our healthcare costs are so astronomical!

  35. 35

    @MikeJ:

    Why wouldn’t public employees give us better performance if incentivized in the same way?

    That has always been the argument for why government employees, especially in certain fields, get paid so well. They have to compete with the private sector and they want to lure the best and the brightest into public service. But somewhere along the way class resentment took root and people started getting grumpy about “my tax dollars” paying fat salaries to “gummint workers.” That attitude was never really challenged and so it took hold.

  36. 36
    ppcli says:

    @MikeJ: True, but you mustn’t forget the basic wingnut mindset. I still fondly remember when it all became clear to me – I had just arrived in the US, in 1985, the high-water mark of Reagan-mania, and I found the whole thing incomprehensible. Fortunately I watched an interview with John Kenneth Galbraith.(Yes – they had people like that on – clearly, cable news was still in its infancy.) As the man himself put it: “You have to remember that Reagan’s basic position is that the poor aren’t working because they make too much and the rich aren’t working because they don’t make enough.”

  37. 37

    @jrg:

    @Southern Beale: The need to track salmonella outbreaks is a bit more compelling than the need to figure out what someone did or didn’t smoke at a concert last weekend.

    Agreed. I’m just saying, I had to crap in a cup at the government’s request. It’s not like it doesn’t happen.

    Um … TMI?

  38. 38
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Chris: The Constitution, apparently, is not transitive. It’s unconstitutional for the state to mandate a purchase from a private firm, but it’s not unconstitutional for a private firm to have a mandate to make a sale to the state.

  39. 39
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @ppcli: Atrios may not be the author — I think a commenter of his was — but he was fond of saying:

    Republicans moan and Republicans bitch:
    “Our rich are too poor, and our poor are too rich.”

  40. 40
    ppcli says:

    @Southern Beale: The biggest homes in Nashville aren’t owned by stars of the Grand Ole Oprey? That’s just un- American!

  41. 41
    The Moar You Know says:

    I love the smell of piss and money in the morning.

  42. 42

    @ppcli:

    Apparently healthcare is bigger business in Nashville than music.

    Most musicians and songwriters here are poor slobs slinging hash to make their rent still waiting for their big break. Haven’t you heard the joke:

    Q: What’s the difference between a guitar player and a pizza?
    A: A pizza can feed a family of four.

    Q: How do you get the songwriter off of your porch?
    A: Pay him for the pizza.

    Thank you folks! I’m here every day …

  43. 43

    OK I have to get going. But here’s my defense of teachers … includes an awesome video rant.

  44. 44
    Tom65 says:

    Two birds with one stone. Not only does he potentially benefit financially, but he’s just managed to villify every state employee. See: Chilling Effect.

  45. 45
    jon says:

    I work for a state agency, and had to take two drug tests in the seven years I’ve worked here. Once before I got the job and another when I got a promotion. The rest of the time? Seems they don’t want to know. Yeah, I work at a prison.

    Also: I’m going to Burning Man this year.

  46. 46
    The Political Nihilist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    Again, it’s not shocking that folks like Scott are doing this. What’s shocking is how utterly open they are about their corruption, and how fucking silent the media are on it. And what’s worse is that the state is stuck with Scott, barring some kind of impeachment process, which is about as likely as Frank Gaffney visiting a halal cart.

  47. 47
    PeakVT says:

    @MikeJ: Are you kidding? Modern Republicans want government not to work, so that nobody cares when they or their corporate masters loot it.

  48. 48
    cleek says:

    @MikeJ:

    Why wouldn’t public employees give us better performance if incentivized in the same way?

    everybody knows the only people who respond to monetary incentives are the executives and board members of private companies. duh.

  49. 49
    keith says:

    I wholeheartedly endorse cheating on drug tests…unless it is for probation.

  50. 50
    The Political Nihilist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @PeakVT:

    Seriously, abolishing the DMV and creating a private driving license industry would be the highest class of porn for these fuckers. And it’s sadly doesn’t even sound unlikely at this point, the way they’ve sent us fucking spiraling down. It’s an all out fucking assault.

  51. 51
    bkny says:

    then surely, gov scott will see to it that solantic will provide their services at cost….

  52. 52
    Roger Moore says:

    Can we just charge the Republican party under RICO and be done with it?

  53. 53
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    Crony Capitalism at its finest.

    We’re so fucking doomed.

  54. 54

    @Tom65:

    three birds, once state employees piss paisley, i am sure there will be a rehab clinic on one side of an ultimatum…

    basically they say “don’t do it again”, and here is some literature if you actually think you have a problem, and want to help yourself, the rest of the time we will, sit, color, tell stories, whatevs.

  55. 55
    djork says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Ohh, I’ve got one!!!

    What does a stipper do with her @sshole before work?

    Drops him and his drums off at band practice.

    Try the veal, etc.

  56. 56
    Tom Q says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Davis, I believe it was Ferguson Foont, a commenter at Salon’s Table Talk, who had it as his tag-line. (He later went a bit nuts, as I recall, after the FL recount, and got himself banned)

  57. 57
    gnomedad says:

    Needs “Republican Crime Syndicate” tag.

  58. 58
    Roger Moore says:

    @djork:
    Yeah, I’ve heard a bunch:
    Q: What do you call a drunken asshole who hangs out with musicians?
    A: A drummer

    Q: What do you call a drummer without a girlfriend?
    A: Homeless.

    Q: What’s the difference between a saxophone and a lawnmower?
    A: Vibrato

  59. 59
    MikeTheZ says:

    @The Political Nihilist Formerly Known As Kryptik: They don’t want to privatize the DMV. Just get rid of it so car insurance companies can Jack their rates citing the increased risk caused by all those new drivers who have escaped the tyranny of the licensing systrem and are too drunk with freedom not to hit things/people.

  60. 60
    cmorenc says:

    @PaulW:

    I blame the negative campaigning that goes on. Each mudsling depresses average voters and force them to tune out and not care, so that the only ones who show up to vote are the partisans who care too much on certain issues.

    The purpose of “negative campaigning” is twofold:
    1) dissuade those questionably likely to vote for your side from voting at all;
    2) increase motivation for those who would be highly likely to vote for your side (if they turned out to vote) to in fact make the effort to do so.

    A key part of the strategy of negative campaigning is to transform bona fide undecideds into nonvoters, and transform people who consider themselves “undecideds” or “independents” but who are actually strongly inclined “leaners” in your direction into motivated voters.

  61. 61
    drkrick says:

    @Roger Moore: What do you call 50 banjos at the bottom of the ocean? A start.

    What’s perfect pitch? When the banjo hits the bottom of the dumpster without touching any of the sides.

    What has 12 legs and 3 teeth? The front row at the banjo workshop.

    How do you tell if the stage is level? The banjo player is drooling out of both sides of this mouth.

    NOTE: These jokes are intended to incentivize the banjo player to finish tuning the @#&@ thing so we can play the next song already. If he keeps tuning, we’ll keep telling them.

  62. 62
    ppcli says:

    @Southern Beale:

    I’m just saying, I had to crap in a cup at the government’s request. It’s not like it doesn’t happen.\Um … TMI?

    TMI? Absolutely not. I for one am overjoyed at the new direction BJ commentary is taking.

  63. 63

    @ppcli:

    I for one am overjoyed at the new direction BJ commentary is taking.

    Scatology is the new black, I hear.

  64. 64
  65. 65
    Citizen_X says:

    @drkrick: What’s the difference between a drummer and a pig? A pig’s not going to spend the whole night trying to fuck a drummer.

    (Yes, yes, awful, I know.)

    There’s also one I can’t remember that well right now, about why a vocalist is like a wayward drunk (?). The punch line is something like she can’t find the key, comes in late, etc, etc. Any help with that one?

  66. 66
    Jamey: Bike Commuter of the Gods says:

    @mistermix:

    Something about gay monogamy, I suspect…

  67. 67

    All I can say is that I think I picked the right time to get out of Florida. All praises to my partner who got a good job in another state.

  68. 68
    Wayne says:

    @rikryah:
    Not everybody voted for him. I didn’t.
    He got elected with something like 47% of the vote.
    Yet it’s still a “mandate”.

  69. 69
    Jamey: Bike Commuter of the Gods says:

    @MikeJ: No. They want to privatize it so they can profit from a monopoly that delivers crappy service.

  70. 70

    @Wayne: It’s a mandate because he won when everyone knew he’d have a batshit insane Republican legislature. The fact that they’re the sane ones in this partnership just makes it that much more terrifying.

  71. 71
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Tom Q: I remember the Foontster. Atrios — Kurt Foster, substitute gym teacher at the time — would have known him too. If I recall Foont’s alter pseud-ego was a Dr. something something, and wrote on various science-and-policy boards. He was outed by a rightie, and lost his job (@ NASA???), hence the flip-out. I remember he had one of the original Honda Insights and kept threatening to run Supreme Court justices over with it after Bush v. Gore came out…ran a board called ‘Bare-Knuckled Politics” for a while after the paywall at Salon went up.

  72. 72
    Tokyokie says:

    @PaulW: Well, since Florida is a community property state, that move wouldn’t change his ownership status at all.

  73. 73
    Davis X. Machina says:

    What’s the difference between a cow and an orchestra?

    The cow’s got the horns in front, and the asshole in back…..

    All power to the workers!

  74. 74

    @Citizen_X:

    I’ve heard this one:

    How do you know when there’s a singer at your front door?
    Because he can’t find the key, and doesn’t know when to come in.

  75. 75

    Some other choice ones:

    Q: What do you call a building full of guitar players?
    A: Jail.

    Q: What do you say to a musician in a three-piece suit?
    A; “Will the defendant please rise…”

  76. 76
    Citizen_X says:

    @Southern Beale: Mercy Beaucups!

    But I object to your joke. None of my band’s guitar players are in jail!

    Er, wait a minute…None of my band’s present guitar players are in jail!

    (Hit a little close to home, unfortunately.)

  77. 77
    PWL says:

    Well, given Mr. Scott’s history as a CEO of one of the most scandal-ridden HMOs of all time, it’s interesting how his “deep personal convictions” and his self-interest seem to dovetail…..

  78. 78
    mwing says:

    I’m a State employee, and have never been asked to take a drug test. Any public employee I’ve met who has had a problem, it’s been booze.
    Drug testing in the general population is like looking for your lost keys under the streetlight – it’s testing what’s easy to test for, not what are the known higher risks.

  79. 79
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rick Massimo:

    Along with the graft, it’s another step in the process of turning state workers into welfare recipients.

    Let’s face it — Republicans already consider any government worker to be on welfare since they get their paycheck from the state.

    Well, except for Republican legislators and their staff. They work hard for their government paycheck, but the firefighters working 48-hour shifts are lazy bastards stealing taxpayer money.

  80. 80
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @Southern Beale: *rim shot*

    Q: What’s the difference between a Nashville guitar player going down the road and a frog going down the road?

    A: The frog’s got a gig.

  81. 81
    Citizen_X says:

    @mwing: That reminds of the fire chief–probably apocryphal–who was filling a government survey that asked, “How many personnel do you have, broken down by sex?” Not missing a beat, he answered, “None. Our chief problem here has been booze.”

  82. 82
    A Farmer says:

    How about piss tests for investment bankers? With all the shitty loans they bought, they had to be strung out on something.

  83. 83

    Bowling said Floridians can count on Scott to do the right thing. His push to privatize government-provided health is born of deep personal conviction ^that everyone should hand over the money and then hold the door while he makes off with the bag of swag, not out of any designs to benefit Solantic, she said.

    Fxd.

  84. 84
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @Citizen_X: What’s the range of an alto saxophone? 25 yards with a good wind.

  85. 85

    Q. What do you say when a drummer comes to your door?

    A. Pizza’s here!

    Q. How many lead singers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    A. One. He holds up the lightbulb the world revolves around him.

    Told to me by a drummer and lead singer, respectively.

  86. 86
    Hob says:

    @61 drkick:

    What’s the difference between a banjo and a harmonica? A harmonica only sucks on every other note.

  87. 87
    PIGL says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Q: How can you tell when it’s the lead singer?

    A: She can’t find the key and she doesn’t know when to come in.

  88. 88
    PIGL says:

    What’s the difference between a banjo and a chainsaw?

    You can tune a chainsaw.

  89. 89
    PIGL says:

    @Southern Beale: sorry, I missed yours before I posted. You told it better, too.

  90. 90
    MikeTheZ says:

    Instantrimshot.com

  91. 91
    lou says:

    My 80 yo mother-in-law, a Florida resident who votes as a civic duty but otherwise is a mildly liberal apolitical type, has turned into a ranter, thanks to Scott. whoever runs against him, if he’s not run out on a rail first, will probably get her as a volunteer.

  92. 92
    mclaren says:

    There’s your solution! Cole should require a piss test for all commenters.

  93. 93

    […] Gov. Scott wants to require ALL RECIPIENTS OF MEDICAID TO JOIN PRIVATE HMOs. By pure coincidence, Rick Scott’s wife’s company doesn’t accept Medicaid, but SOLANTIC does accept […]

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