Washington (CNN) - A top Republican has come out against efforts by his party to repeal President Obama's health care reform bill currently underway in the House.
Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tennessee, said at a press conference Tuesday at the Bipartisan Policy Center - an organization he chairs with former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, among others - that the law should stand, according to The Huffington Post.
"It is not the bill that [Republicans] would have written," he said. "It is not the bill that I would have drafted. But it is the law of the land and it is the platform, the fundamental platform, upon which all future efforts to make that system better, for that patient, for that family, will be based."
He added: "[The bill] has many strong elements," Frist added later. "And those elements, whatever happens, need to be preserved, need to be cuddled, need to be snuggled, need to be promoted and need to be implemented. But how do you do it? How do you do a lot of what is in this law?"
In October, Frist told Time magazine's Karen Tumulty that he "would end up voting for it," he said. "As leader, I would take heat for it. ... That's what leadership is all about."
His comments come in stark contrast to what congressional Republicans are now pushing - a repeal of the law, which House Speaker John Boehner has deemed "a jobs killer." The push is nearly impossible given the Democratic majority in the Senate and a certain veto from the president.
Frist, a surgeon who retired from Congress in 2007, knows first hand about the health care system - though other doctors-turned-lawmakers in Congress such as Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma have been staunchly opposed to the law.