Fmr. HHS secretary backs Baucus bill

The former secretary of Health and Human Services under President George H.W. Bush announced Monday he supports the Senate Finance Committee's healthcare reform effort.

Dr. Louis Sullivan, a Republican, told ABC News that he remains skeptical of some of the proposal's policy specifics, but he called the chairman's mark "a compromise that has elements that indeed, I think, all individuals, Republicans or Democrats, can support."

"We’re not going to get a perfect answer," the former secretary added. "There are a number of things [in the committee's bill] that I would not be enthusiastic about, but I am not enthusiastic about the failure to enact healthcare reform. That would be the worst outcome."

Sullivan joins a growing chorus of Republican leaders who have recently publicized their agreement with the general thrust of Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus's (D-Mont.) healthcare proposal. Last week, former Senate Republican Leaders Bob Dole (Kan.) and Bill Frist (Tenn.) also expressed their qualified support for the bill.

Democrats have since sought to pivot on those key announcements, even creating a brief television advertisement outlining Dole's position in particular. But Dole had the advertisement nixed this weekend, claiming it suggested the former Senate Republican leader endorsed Democrats' legislation.