Tags: bill | frist | healthcare

Frist: Healthcare Proposal Would Collapse System

Friday, 25 Sep 2009 12:50 PM

The U.S. healthcare system would implode if the proposal to reform it passed as is, says former Republican Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

The Senate Finance Committee's healthcare reform plan also would devastate patient care, the former heart and lung transplant surgeon told Newsmax.TV’s Kathleen Walter at the fifth annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.

“The bill is not there yet,” Frist said. “If the bill that came out of the House were adopted today, yes — the quality of healthcare would fall, because we can’t afford it. More people would be forced out of the insurance market. There are not enough doctors or primary care deliverers.”

To see the full interview with Senator Frist on healthcare, — Click Here.

Frist, though, admits he is an optimist.

“I am confident you can do both things — that you can take those 20 million hard-core uninsured, bring them into the insurance market, and at the same time, through reimbursement mechanisms in how we reimburse providers, that we can bend the cost curve.”

Walter asked Frist, who spent 20 years practicing medicine, whether he is alarmed that tort reform has been discussed relatively little in the healthcare debate.

“There’s no question that as much $100 billion of our healthcare costs are due to unnecessary tests that we have . . . to protect ourselves from litigation and from abusive lawyers out there. But, it has to be addressed. It should be addressed. I think the president will make, maybe, a first step, but it’s not the fundamental cause that is driving up the cost of healthcare every year.”

Frist believes a healthcare reform bill will pass.

“I think taking Democrats, independents, and Republicans working together in the U.S. Senate willing to compromise (and) with President Obama’s leadership, we can pass a bill that’s reasonable, that will improve quality of care (and) definitely will improve access. But, it’s going to cost us something, and how much that’s the public debate.

Frist is attending the Clinton Global Initiative, a four-day discussion and collaboration among world leaders, business executives, heads of NGOs, philanthropists, and other activists to take on pressing challenges including global health.

“We know there are about 4 billion people around the world today who don’t have any sort of reasonable access to healthcare and to healthcare services,” Frist said. “We know the importance of prevention and vaccines, yet there are millions and millions of people who don’t have that access. Only by coming to an event like this and bringing the public sector and the private sector together — bringing government and nongovernment organizations together — can we figure out how best to improve the distribution problem and also bring new technologies and exciting innovations to people who need it.”

Frist has written a book about his journey from physician to lawmaker to global health crusader. Scheduled for release on Oct. 5, the book is titled “A Heart to Serve.”

To see the full interview with Senator Frist on healthcare, — Click Here.

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