Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Politics: Bill Frist is a "Blind", Psychic, Rich, Dirty Bastard Whom I Despise (Did I Mention He's a Relgious Nut too?)

So you may know that Frist's family owns HCA, which is the nation's largest owner of and provider of healthcare services throughout the nation (sorry, no facilities in Michigan. for you Kentucky folk, HCA owns the Frankfort Regional Medical Center and Greenview Regional Hospital in Bowling Green). HCA made Frist's father, Dr. Thomas Frist Sr, a very rich man. HCA is the epitome of what I vehemently disdain in American medicine - CEOs and other non-care providers making millions of dollars of profit off of patients, while those delivering direct patient care are often undercompensated (especially nurses, medical assistants, and all the other non-doctor types). For example, HCA's top CEO routinely takes in roughly 12 million dollars a year, plus or minus a few million (I'm citing this from memory - the exact figure is in a very excellent book about the cost of health care, Bleeding the Patient: The Consequences of Corporate Health Care). HCA executives have also been involved and cited for defrauding Medicare.

So little Fristy-poo, the kind Senate Majority Leader, is himself in a bit of a scandal, as he sold some HCA stock a la Martha Stewart, just before the stock took a substantial plummet. The article linked to this blog describes how Frist has gotten away with owning HCA stock while making KEY medical votes during his Senate tenure. I don't claim to understand these so called "blind trusts" that allow politicians to hold stock in business while allowing them to vote in the Senate/Congress without a conflict of interest, but I am suspicious of how "blind" these stocks really are. If a doctor is not allowed to practice medicine while being in the Senate or Congress (I believe we had a heated blog about this earlier in the year), why do we allow Frist to hold this "blind stock", and form laws that may allow him and his family to continue rip the money out of their patient's (and the government's) pockets. I'm a little biased, as I believe becoming immensely wealthy (i.e. to the tunes of becoming a freaking millionaire) in healthcare is just a bit unethical and a poor use of our healthcare resources, especially when we have over 45 million uninsured persons in this country.

We will have to stay tuned to see if Frist's psychic stock trading and "blind" trust cost our favorite doctor-turned-politician his suspect run for the 2008 Presidency. Probably not though - we seem to like to keep our liars and thieves in Washington.

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