Monday, December 05, 2005

Tennessean: Frist votes aid HCA's business interests

Frist votes aid HCA's business interests: "Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is pushing a 'healthy America' plan that includes tax breaks to help the poor buy insurance and legal limits on excessive jury awards that Frist says hurt access to care.

Frist's plan would do something else besides help the poor and reduce what he says are frivolous lawsuits.

It would help make money for HCA Inc., the Nashville-based hospital company that's been the foundation of the Frist family's wealth.

Frist, considered a possible presidential candidate in 2008, was dogged for years by complaints that his financial stake in HCA created a conflict of interest.

This summer, he sold his stock in the company, which his father and brother helped start, but did so one month before the price took a sharp dive, raising new questions about his intentions.

Frist's office said the Tennessee Republican wasn't available to comment directly for this story, but he has said in the past that his connections to HCA have not influenced his actions in the Senate.

Still, an examination of Frist's voting record over his nearly 11 years in the Senate shows a pattern of supporting bills friendly to HCA and to hospitals in general. His votes typically have followed the Republican Party line."


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