Following his surprise victory in Tuesday's presidential election, Donald Trump has begun weighing his options for his cabinet. Among the many positions he will need to fill include a secretary of Health and Human Services to oversee the contentious healthcare department.
Rumblings in Washington are pointing to Gov. Rick Scott of Florida. Scott's name has made the short list, despite being tied to a $1.7 billion healthcare scandal.
Scott, who endorsed Trump's presidential bid in March, is being considered along with former presidential candidates Ben Carson, Newt Gingrich and Bobby Jindal. Scott's roots are in healthcare, having founded the Columbia Hospital Corporation after graduating from law school. After building up the company, he sold it in 1997.
That's where the Department of Justice stepped in. Thanks to information from whistleblowers, the DOJ started investigating the company for fraud. The department found a variety of unlawful practices including billing fraud and the payment of kickbacks to doctors that took place while Scott was at the helm. Columbia Hospital Corporation ended up settling with the Department of Justice and paid a record-breaking $1.7 billion in restitution to the federal government.
"This settlement marks the conclusion of the most comprehensive healthcare fraud investigation ever undertaken by the Justice Department working with the Departments of Health and Human Services and Defense, the Office of Personnel Management and the states," a statement released by the DOJ on Jun. 26, 2003 read.
Scott was not explicitly mentioned in the statement, nor was he personally charged. He claimed that he was unaware of the activity and that if he had known about it, he would have put a stop to it.
The Department of Health and Human Services is the government agency responsible for Medicaid, Medicare, the Children's Health Insurance Program and the Health Insurance Marketplace. Should Scott take the job, he'd be in charge of some 70,000 employees and the entirety of the nation's government provided health insurance. Meanwhile, he'd rubber stamp the demise of the Affordable Care Act.
"We have to replace Obamacare," he said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer Wednesday. "The replacement has to be something that works for all Americans."
Even if Trump ends up offering Scott the position, it's far from a sure thing that he'd take the job.
"I like my job here and I'll pass," he told Blitzer. "I want to stay in Florida."