In October, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) broke with his party to argue that health care reform “is not socialized medicine” and suggested that he could have voted for the bill. “You hear a lot of people on the extreme say that socialized medicine is going to come in and control everything. Socialized medicine is where the government owns the hospitals. They own the doctors and they decide how much people are getting paid. And that’s not what’s in these bills,” Frist told Washington Journal.
Yesterday, during a panel at the American Hospital Association with Tom Daschle, Frist again characterized the new law as a moderate measure that he “sort of likes.” From Emily Walker of MedPage Today:
Frist, a thoracic surgeon, told Time magazine back in October that if he were still in Congress, he would vote for the bill. And his support apparently hasn’t wavered. On Monday afternoon he said he would give an “A” grade to the provisions in the law aimed at expanding insurance to an additional 32 million people. Cost, however, is another matter. While most Republicans would likely slap a failing grade on the cost aspect of the law, Frist said he’d rank it a “C.”
“I like the bill,” Frist said during a panel discussion with former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle at the American Hospital Association’s (AHA’s) annual meeting. “I think it’s got lots of positive stuff in it, other than the costs.”
Frist also praised President Obama’s second health summit, saying the President had “persuasive charisma” and “command of the subject.” “You have a president there who got his hands dirty, but still looked presidential,” Frist said.
Earlier this month, Frist predicted that the state lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of health reform would likely fail. “”I don’t think that is going to be successful,” Frist told reporters after a speech last Thursday to educators in Nashville. He added, “From a justice, fairness and equity standpoint, I’m very proud of this administration and that America has addressed this.”