Frist Could Help Bush Health Care Agenda as Senate Leader, Wall Street Journal Op-Ed States
The White House health care agenda could benefit from the possible election of Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) as Senate majority leader, CNBC Washington Bureau Chief Alan Murray writes in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. Murray writes that the White House hopes to make the 108th Congress the "most important" for the nation's health care system in the past 30 years, and with the "leadership turmoil" in the Senate, President Bush could "get a bonus" in the event that Republicans elect Frist as Senate majority leader (Murray, Wall Street Journal, 12/17). Senate Republicans will meet on Jan. 6 to consider the removal of their current leader, Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.), because of comments he made earlier this month in support of the 1948 segregationist presidential campaign of Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.). Frist is one of at least four senators who could replace Lott (VandeHei/Dewer, Washington Post, 12/17). Frist, a physician by training, has a "knowledge of, and devotion" to, health care issues, Murray writes. As Senate majority leader, Frist could make a White House-supported Medicare prescription drug benefit bill a priority for the Senate, win the support of moderate Democrats required to pass the legislation and explain the "complicated and controversial measure" to the public, Murray writes. He adds that Frist could "fill out" the Bush health care "reform team" with FDA Commissioner Mark McClellan, CMS Administrator Tom Scully and White House health care adviser Doug Badger. Murray concludes, "If [Republicans] are serious about remaking the nation's health care system in the next Congress, Sen. Frist may be their best choice" for Senate majority leader (Wall Street Journal, 12/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.