Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) Plans To Address Racial Disparities in Health Care
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said yesterday at a news conference to outline the legislative agenda for Senate Republicans this year that he will work to reduce racial disparities in the U.S. health care system, the Los Angeles Times reports. Frist, elected as Senate Republican leader in late December, also said that he supports programs to treat HIV/AIDS in Africa (Anderson, Los Angeles Times, 1/9). Frist said, "For reasons we don't fully understand, but we've got to face and we've got to evaluate, we know that African Americans today do not live as long. They don't have the same access, and the doctor-patient relationship in some way is colored by the medical training. And that's something I began to address a long time ago and will continue to address." In addition, Frist said that he plans to work to reform Medicare, address problems in the private health care system and consider proposals to provide health coverage for the uninsured. He said, "Health care disparities, minority versus non-minority populations, is something I feel strongly about. So you'll see that elevated. So when we say Medicare, prescription drugs, which is what everybody thinks about, let's not forget that there are many health care challenges, which I would call crises, out there today." Frist did not provide details on new legislative proposals, many of which will "apparently have to wait" until after President Bush makes his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, the New York Times reports (Firestone, New York Times, 1/9).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.