Frist: Don't repeal health care bill
January 18th, 2011
05:35 PM ET
4 years ago

Frist: Don't repeal health care bill

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.


Filed under: Bill Frist • Health care
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Patty h

    In stead of repealing health care...congress should go on-line a find out just how much it costs a month to buy their own insurance...I bet they have no idea...and they have no idea how it feels not to have health insurance...I think we should repeal congresses health insurance, then we can talk.

    January 18, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. BeanerECMO

    We knew he was RINO from way back. He's outta there next time.

    January 18, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. Jason

    This is surprising. My brother is a doctor and he said that this bill will make it very hard for doctors to make a living. Already, so much is going to the insurance companies. This bill will essentially cover millions of Americans who won't contribute (i.e. either don't have jobs or don't make enough to contribute). The very sad fact is that those of us who make just enough to get by, can't afford to support those who make even less than we do. Those very low earners in most cases chose not to go to college (and with student aid, scholarships and loans, not going to college is a choice) or have chosen a lifestyle that didn't put earnings as a high enough of a goal. It is sad that so many Americans want something for nothing. The American work ethic is not what it once was. Everybody wants something for free. The problem is that the government wants to give it to them.

    January 18, 2011 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  4. diridi

    They got to be bunch of idiots to repeal this health care reform....o.k....Americans, voice against these GOP thugs actions....God Bless the nation, the USA!!! so does for Obama.....o.k...Senate do not repeal this much needed health care....state run exchanges run as public options...

    January 18, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  5. Papi69

    Guess not all republicans follow their leaders in goosestep!

    January 18, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Senator Frist, how's the fallout from the Terri Schiavo fiasco going? You know, where you made a prognosis via replay tape versus what the attending physicians were saying. Then the poor girl passed on, an autopsy was conducted and the results showed that..........................YOU got it oh, so wrong!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 18, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. Protect and Defend Freedom of Speech in the USA

    Thank God he's not in the Senate anymore. Hey Frist, did you think about the phrase, "first do no harm"?

    This massive healthcare entitlement masquerading as "reform" is a first class fiasco in every aspect. The country can't afford it, it'll ultimately destroy the current healthcare system (witness all the waivers being granted) and result in total government control of the healthcare system, ONE SIXTH OF OUR ECONOMY.

    And you chose to ignore that part of this in an unconstitutional requirement that forces a free people to buy a product or face penalties imposed by the state. If THAT is allowed to stand, then we are better than communist China telling their people they can't have more than one child, or pay a penalty.

    January 18, 2011 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  8. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    To BeanerECMO – He's already out. Way to stay on top of things. Also, have you heard, Lincoln was assassisnated. Yeah, it was in all th papers!

    January 18, 2011 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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."
    -------------------------------------------------–

    Somebody run and get the smelling salts!!!! I JUST FAINTED!!!

    Palin's numbers are finally in the crapper.
    Glen Beck calls Obama Mr. President.
    McCain agrees with Obama.
    And now Sen. Frist......

    Stick a fork in me I'm done!

    January 18, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Repealing HC reform will require more than just a repeal coming from the Republicans and more is just something they don't have to offer.

    January 18, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  11. RoofinReality

    The things Frist speak of that are good:
    No more pre-ex
    No more recission of coverage
    No more gouging of premiums (via MLR – 80% for individuals and 85% for small/mid-side groups)
    No more outrageous deductibles (highest is $2,000 I think)
    No more outrageous out of pocket maximums (I think $5,000 per person will be the top line)
    Seniors Doughnut hole created by Medicare Part D (unfunded by the way), will be shrunk, helping seniors
    Having young, healthy people (up to age 26 can stay on parents plans) will decrease the abvg cost of a claim, balancing out the higher cost of claims from the "graying of America" through the baby boomers.
    And the individual mandate is there to ensure that privat insurers aren't negatively hurt by the reforms to help millions more Americans get coverage and the ones who do have it can get better coverage without the burden of high costs with their coverage.
    Those are all good things in the bill.

    January 18, 2011 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  12. william

    The republican party past and current is no different than the George Bush years they will go to great lenghts to stretch the truth and cover lies, spread fear, and attend the wealthy.HEALTH CARE... I'll go out on a limb and say the majority of americans don"t really know the ends and outs (pros/cons) of the new health care law... so how can you be against something when you don"t know what it is? USE FAT KAT REPUBLICAN TO SPREAD IT TO THE LESS EDUCATED AMONG US... I realize everyone don"t have access to computers,etc but the federal gov should do a better job of getting the word out so we can make our own minds up/ not pundits!!!

    January 18, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  13. Linda

    Just maybe he knows that it is a waste of time and the republicans haven't come up with anything to replace it with. I have healthcare from my employer, but i do feel that everyone should have to pay something. This will keep them from having to go to the emergency room where we all know how expensive that can be. And who end up paying for it? We do. He also knows that before they were elected, they promised that they would work on jobs, jobs, jobs. Where are the jobs, republicans? As a matter of fact, I haven't heard not one of them mention jobs since November 2. You people got tricked again. One would think that you would have learned.

    January 18, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  14. G D

    The GAO says the health care bill will save $$. That may be true for the gov & us as taxpayers, but it's not true for our personal financial loads. My small business saw its rates rise significantly again this year. So, sure, repeal a bad bill, but what is the replacement plan? That's the question the GOP hasn't answered. But PLEASE, don't let Pelosi author another attempt!

    January 18, 2011 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  15. w l jones

    Heathercare for those can afford it and those who cannot. I know a certain person mother were in labor durning a recession when the midwife had problem and call the doctor for help he said cash only he charged two fifty for the rich and three dollar for the poor. With that his father were only making fithy cent a day so he had to go all over town collection penny before the doctor deliver this little boy man. Sad but a living witnest.

    January 18, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  16. LGNY

    So, Republicans are calling him RINO, reminding the Schiavo mess, and welcoming that he's not in office. Boy, they turn fast on anyone who does not follow the orthodoxy.

    Frankly, it's good to see a party leader who is not kowtowing to the central doctrines.

    January 18, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  17. Tish

    Thank You Sir, you are a first for putting the interest of the American people and not the biased interest of you dissapointing party. God Bless America

    January 18, 2011 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  18. Troy

    Jason. When I read the comments that Frist made I was surprised as well. I found that you can read the entire law/bill online in it's entirety. Some of the things I read were surprising to me. There is no cap on the amount of insurance you can get if you have a terminal illness. I never knew this. Most people in a Hospice are their for one reason and that is they have no more insurance. Also, you can choose your own doctor. I thought the government told you who to use. Also, I could not find out where they cut off any insurance to the elderly. Seems like that was a big subject in the last election.
    I don't like my taxes going to free loaders, lazy, unemployed, or welfare mothers either. I want everyone who can work to get off their butts and work or work looking for a job. But on the other hand, I don't want to see children die because they don't get shots or have preventive care. I also don't want to see older people die because they have no more coverage and or have lost their life savings due to an Enron or an aggressive banking model that caused them to lose their home.

    I guess what I am saying is that if we are going to allow people to fight it out in the greatest capitalist society in world, we need a safety net. There are going to be people in the financial sector who make 10 million usd bonuses for selling stocks and getting financing deals through. There are going to be people losing their jobs to factories in China and won't be able to pay their morgages, much less buy insurance. Is it to much to have a safety net to help those people?

    January 18, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  19. Asa

    Frist retired for a reason. Good riddens. He was a poor leader and now he is pulling a Jimma Carter.

    January 18, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  20. Steve

    Wow, a Republican who actually cares about more than just the rich? How unique!

    January 18, 2011 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  21. Andrea

    Ahahahahah Go Fist! It takes balls to do the right thing!

    January 18, 2011 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  22. Mike J

    Typically those who would seek to end benefits for those who have not are those who have, and who can afford. If we are supposedly the greatest nation on earth, we sure don't do a good job of showing it. Those who have become staunchly selfish when it appears that a helping hand is being offered "at their expense " to those who are truly in need. As for repeal of the health care law, the republicans should spend their time constructively coming up with ideas on how to get this economy back on track, like tackling legislation that does away with giving incentves to American corporations (and their investors) for outsoucing American jobs.

    January 18, 2011 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. theherald

    Mr Frist, Thank you so much for be a TRUE American

    January 18, 2011 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  24. John Henson

    The difference between Frist and Coburn is that Frist is honest while Coburn is being partisan.

    January 18, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  25. Steve

    Republicans warn of the rationing of healthcare if everyone in this country gets covered. I call it sharing...and if there isn't enough to go around, then maybe people will see what it feels like to go without. I have mine, and would be bankrupt without it. The soultion is not the Republican way of denying coverage to people, the solution is to create enough for everyone with educational incentives and by building more facilities. This would also create more jobs. Jobs, something we need desperately anyway?

    January 18, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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