In an interview today with Time’s Karen Tumulty, former Republican Senate Majority Leader Dr. Bill Frist dismissed the GOP’s balking over health care legislation. Underscoring how much Republicans have become the “party of no” and how much the Senate Finance Committee legislation has been watered-down, Frist said that if he were still in office, he would vote for the bill. “I would end up voting for it,” he said. “As leader, I would take heat for it. … That’s what leadership is all about.” Frist has already come out for the individual mandate and has said that Democrats would be well within legal and ethical guidelines using the reconciliation process to pass health reform. In his interview with Tumulty, Frist also took issue with his party’s fearmongering, saying that “death panels and public plan arguments have been overblown.”
In later remarks, Frist clarified that he wasn’t talking about the Senate Finance Committee legislation. “I don’t support the Baucus bill as written today,” Frist said.