After backtracking on his support for one health reform proposal yesterday, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) said on Tuesday he would support none of the current reform plans.
Frist told ABC yesterday that he would not back the Senate Finance Committee's health bill, but expanded his opposition to all five healthcare bills in Congress. Last Friday, Frist told Time's Karen Tumulty that he would vote for healthcare reform legislation.
"Right now, in the shape that each of those are in, I wouldn't vote for any of them," Frist told CNBC.
Frist, however, insisted that Tumulty's piece "was exactly right" in that it captured his thoughts on specific provisions of reform legislation like expanding coverage and controlling costs.
The former senator originally told Tumulty that he "would end up voting for it. As leader, I would take heat for it...That's what leadership is all about."
Frist, however, said that he would support a bipartisan bill that is "market-based," provides universal healthcare with an individual mandate, but controls costs.
Last week, Frist signaled support for a public option "trigger" that would provide public health insurance if private insurers do not meet certain benchmarks. But he did not address the public option today.
Frist stressed the "moral" importance of expanding coverage to 20 million Americans who do not have insurance.
"We have a moral obligation, and I would argue an economic obligation, to bring the uninsured into the market to prevent cherry picking exclusion by pre-existing illness, and at the same time address the cost out there which are going up to fast," Frist said.
He added that ideas currently circulating Congress are stale and that legislators need to adopt more a "radical" plan.
"I argue for much more radical reform, transformational reform," Frist said. "Right now, what's going on on the Senate floor and the House floor is really just a mixture of old ideas. It's not really changing the overall delivery of healthcare between doctors and patients."