Bill Frist (R-TN) spoke at noon today at the Commonwealth Club. He chose to talk about problems in delivering health care.
The Club format limits the speech and question/answer sections together to an hour. Good thing, as this right-wing Presidential wanna be was a yawner. An hour was more than enough.
Most of his prepared remarks were a laundry list of the current problems with health care delivery, including the inability to obtain affordable insurance. Frist was not particularly insightful and definitely not passionate-sounding. Worse, his solutions were basically more of the same with perhaps tax credits funding insurance company premiums, limited public care for uninsured children, and one (1) clinic per indigent county for everyone else who could not afford private insurance. Health care reform also seemed to be linked to doing something evil to those hated “trial lawyers” that are driving up costs so much and putting good doctors out of business. He also mentioned that ads for prescription drugs were driving up costs, too, but I didn’t hear any suggested legislation for that issue. (Full text of his speech.)
At least he came to San Francisco, a good Christian braving the nasty lions (apparent Frist supporters in the row ahead of us were talking about the lions’ den before I thought of the image.) His topic was vintage Democratic material, too. Unfortunately, his solutions are tepid and his delivery unexciting.
I did like watching him dance during Q&A when my written question — cleaned up by the moderator — was asked. I asked if Frist would critique the Senate’s and his personal actions during the Terry Schiavo tragedy. The Senator wasn’t very nimble on the dance floor on that one. After wandering a bit, he said defensively that “we don’t want the government to get into our personal lives, but…”. Geoff and I leapt on that line and started the only applause that interrupted Frist’s speaking during the whole presentation. I confess to enjoying the grimace he made while waiting for the applause to stop so he could continue with his “but…” nonsense.
As much as I am a political junkie and collector of contacts with politicians, I hope I just didn’t see the next President of the United States.