Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) veered off GOP’s “repeal and replace” talking points yesterday during an appearance with CMS administrator Don Berwick in Nashville, Tennessee, suggesting that the next challenge in health care policy is not rolling back the Affordable Care Act, but implementing it:
FRIST: You know, we’ve seen Medicare, we’ve seen Medicaid, we’ve seen the most recent reform — the Affordable Care Act. I think what we’re going to see now is no more legislation but a demand for implementation of all these in an improved modernized way through partnerships and I’m very hopeful, based on both the most recent legislation but also the incentives of the system, that all of that centers on value that is quality and outcomes and results for dollar invested… it will be a partnership between the public sector, the private sector, and the government.
At the forum, Frist also reiterated his belief that the Affordable Care Act would survive legal challenges, even if the individual mandate is declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The senator had supported the individual mandate back in 2009, when, in an op-ed for U.S. News and World Report, he wrote, “It is time for an individual health insurance mandate for a minimum level of health coverage.” “It is a conservative approach that would affordably achieve necessary goals,” he added. In April 2010, Frist also gave an “A” grade to the provisions in the law aimed at expanding insurance to an additional 32 million people, but argued that the administration could have done more to control spending.