Domestic Health

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  • As Congress Debates, What Steps Shall I Take?

    by Bill Frist




    Written with Gary Dodd There’s a lot of uncertainty in healthcare today including changes to the Affordable Care Act and changes at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. As healthcare professionals, we hope we are moving to a world of alternative payment models that will be focused on quality of care, not quantity of…




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  • TrumpCare: In The Beginning… (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist




    FORBES | The immediate question for those whose lives focus around lifting the health of individual Americans is, “What does Donald J. Trump’s presidency mean for health care in America?” At the heart of the answer is uncertainty. Trump is an “unknown unknown” when it comes to deep, thoughtful health policy. He has excelled in many…




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  • The Newborn Illness That Nobody Is Talking About – And It’s Not Zika (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist




    FORBES | Nothing can prepare a mother for seeing her newborn seize multiple times an hour, refuse to eat or sleep, and shake uncontrollably. That’s what Julia found herself facing after severe chronic back pain from a car accident left her dependent on opioids. Julia had been a college student from a middle class family with…




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  • Congress Must Preserve Quitlines and The Tips Program (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist




    FORBES | Smoking is the number one killer and public health challenge today, causing more deaths each year than automobile accidents, firearm-related injuries, HIV, illegal drug use, and alcohol abuse—combined. As a surgeon, it was the primary cause of the heart and lung disease that I operated on every day for 15 years. In my…




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  • How Bundled Payments Can Change Healthcare (The Hill)

    by Bill Frist




    THE HILL | Rising health care costs are a top concern for Americans today, with 64% of voters in a January 2016 Kaiser Health tracking poll, citing a candidate’s position on the cost of health care, health insurance, and prescription drugs as “the single most important factor” or “a very important factor” in their vote…




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  • FDA Draft Guidance on Real-World Data (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist




    FORBES | In a document issued this week, the Food & Drug Administration laid out for comment its draft guidance of how real-world evidence could support regulatory decision-making for medical devices. This is a positive step forward for improving the medical product development process. At the Bipartisan Policy Center, Representative Bart Gordon and I have been urging…




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  • When Regenerative Medicine Changes Everything (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist




    FORBES | Two weeks ago I led a panel discussion at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) on medical innovation with my good friends Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who chairs the Senate Health,Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee, and former Congressman Bart Gordon (D-TN), who previously chaired the House Committee on Science and Technology.  We were…




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  • How Real-World Data Could Change Medicine (US News & World Report)

    by Bill Frist




    US NEWS & WORLD REPORT | With continuing advances in science and technology, the pace of medical breakthroughs is accelerating. Today, we can treat or even cure conditions that significantly shortened life just a generation ago. The exciting promises of personalized medicine are now becoming reality. Congressman Bart Gordon and I co-chair the Bipartisan Policy Center’s…




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  • Better Healthcare at Lower Costs (AHIP 2016)

    by Bill Frist




    NOTES FROM THE ROAD | I had the privilege of speaking yesterday at America’s Health Insurance Plans Institute and Expo. Along with Bernard Tyson (Kaiser Permanente) and David Bernd (Sentara Healthcare), I discussed “Better Health Care at Lower Cost: Is It Possible?” You know my answer: It is absolutely possible with technology. In case you…




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  • The Most Helpful Illegal Medical Procedure (Fox News)

    by Bill Frist




    FOX NEWS | Last year 47,000 Americans had their blindness reversed through the transplantation of cells from a corneal donor’s final selfless act. It is safe, it is effective, and because it is curative, it is a relatively cost effective procedure. It is medicine at its most beautiful. And according to FDA regulations, the distribution of this…




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  • The Senate Must Streamline the Drug Regulatory Process (Wall Street Journal)

    by Bill Frist




    WALL STREET JOURNAL | Before the Senate is a powerful medical-innovation package of 19 bills—a companion to the House-approved 21st Century Cures Act—that will streamline the nation’s regulatory process for the discovery, development and delivery of safe and effective drugs and devices, bringing the process into the new century. This legislation, crafted by the Senate’s…




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  • Four Strategies to Save Lives, Curb Smoking (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist




    FORBES | This  month, FDA passed The Tobacco Control Act, which grants the Agency the authority to regulate cigarettes, cigarette tobacco, roll-your-own tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and any other tobacco products including e-cigarettes and hookah pipes. The truth is, smoking and tobacco take 500,000 lives in the US each year, and healthcare for a smoker costs the system…




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  • Tomorrow Might Be The Most Important Day This Year (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist




    It’s true that we are all living longer: the percentage of American adults over 65 years old has doubled since 1940, now reaching 13%. By 2050 that number is expected to double again to 25%. In actual numbers this translates to an estimated 89 million “senior citizens” by 2050. Advances in sanitation and the advent…




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  • Improving Access and Adding Value for Mental Health Care (Forbes)

    by Bill Frist




    “When you break a leg, you get a cast and people sign it and put smiley faces on it. When you’re given a mental illness diagnosis, you’re cast out,” 24-year old Amanda explained to Kaiser Health News. Amanda was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in college, after several years of manic-depressive behavior. The family struggled financially and…




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  • Global Health: The Most Effective Policy

    by Bill Frist




    As the 2016 primaries unfold, it’s time for candidates of both parties to focus on expanding the big-hearted policies that have made this nation so exceptional. In recent years, the most effective of those policies has been global health — that is, putting U.S. resources to work saving lives in developing nations by spreading health treatments…




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  • Cutting Sugar for Better Health

    by Bill Frist




    On a trip this month to the U.K., I noticed many of their food and beverage products labeled “No Added Sugar,” and the message floods the airwaves. Britain has already caught on to the evils of hidden sugars, and has been loudly making it known to consumers. America should follow suit. Reducing sugar intake isn’t…




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  • Flint’s Water Crisis and Public Health 3.0

    by Bill Frist




    When looking at the ongoing crisis over safe drinking water in Flint one thing is abundantly clear, the decisions made–at multiple levels–were made without a comprehensive evaluation of the impact on public health. Karen DeSalvo, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and I take a look at the public health approaches…




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  • What’s Needed to Remain Competitive in Medical Innovation

    by Bill Frist




    Less than a week ago, Congress voted to increase the NIH budget by $2 billion. That’s a lot of money, but it only just reverses the erosion of federal funding for critical biomedical research. This funding increase is much-needed. But there’s more than can be done on Capitol Hill to re-prioritize lifesaving biomedical research. Read more at…




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  • The Childhood Experiences That Can Cut 20 Years Off Your Life

    by Bill Frist




    I recently heard a startling statistic. According to a CDC study, children who endure six or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) by the age of 18—incidents of abuse or neglect that make a child feel unsafe or unwanted in their home—live on average 20 years less than their peers who are not exposed to these…




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  • The Numbers are In: The Case for NashvilleHealth

    by Bill Frist




    I like to keep an eye on my hometown’s statistics. I love seeing Nashville listed among the nation’s best cities to launch a startup, raise a family and visit for a weekend away. According to some estimates, we gain 80 new Nashvillians each day, transplants from all over, drawn to our welcoming atmosphere and our…




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  • The Superbug Fight at your Grocery Store

    by Bill Frist




    You may have heard statistics about the over-use of prescription drugs, with reports indicating that up to half of all antibiotics prescribed today are used improperly. It’s a huge problem contributing to the rising threat of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. What you may not have heard, however, is that the majority of drugs used in the U.S. aren’t even taken…




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  • Making Health Convenient

    by Bill Frist




    I believe one of the secrets of achieving good population health is to make the healthy choice the easy choice, and I’m so pleased to learn of businesses in Tennessee who are working to make that a reality. Tri-Star Services’ Twice Daily convenience stores are making a strong committment to offering  healthy food and drink…




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  • The Future for The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

    by Bill Frist




    Research matters. An agency that I fought to save many years ago is at risk again, and Congress must make a move to save it. I had just been sworn into the U.S. Senate in 1995, when I first found out that the The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) – then known as the…




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  • Call for a Conversation: Alzheimer’s in Tonight’s Debate

    by Bill Frist




    Tonight, when Republican candidates, vying for the White House, debate one another at the presidential library and final resting place of President Ronald Reagan, they should honor his memory and address the illness that claimed his life and the lives of 700,000 Americans annually: Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth-leading cause of death in our nation. Reagan…




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  • Nashville’s Role in the Healthcare Landscape

    by Bill Frist




    I love Nashville and I’m so proud of the work being done  here. Healthcare is the heart of this town and the solutions being developed here are helping patients all over the world. I’m particularly proud of the Nashville Healthcare Council’s Fellows program, and was thrilled to introduce it to a broader audience. I am…




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  • Compensating for End of Life Conversations Is Important First Step

    by Bill Frist




    The Obama Administration is soon scheduled to release the proposed 2016 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, which determines what and how much providers can bill for health care services. The administration can choose to compensate providers for offering voluntary counseling services to patients and families about end-of-life care options, and I strongly urge it to do…




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  • The Worst Kept Secret in Healthcare

    by Bill Frist




    For many of our health problems, the solutions are not a secret: eat well, move, make healthy choices. Of course sometimes that is easier said than done. Our physical and social environments–where we live, what kind of emotional support we have, our access to fresh food and healthcare–determine more of our healthcare than what our…




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  • A Charge to Press Forward on Alzheimer’s Research

    by Bill Frist




    Heart transplantation revolutionized healthcare in a way that’s hard to comprehend. What was once a death sentence–sometimes without warning–became surmountable. People got their lives back. We need the same revolution in Alzheimer’s research. The answer will be different; transplant can’t solve this problem. But just because the way forward is unclear, we can’t stop pushing…




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  • Why Texas is missing out on the future of medicine

    by Bill Frist




    If you’ve read much of anything here, you know that I am a big fan of health technologies to improve care and create a sustainable healthcare system. I think it’s essential that we choose the right technologies that will serve patients, and I firmly believe telemedicine is one of those solutions (so much so that…




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  • Killing the superbug: A call for Congressional action

    by Bill Frist




    When Alexander Flemming accepted his Nobel Prize for the discovery of penicillin, he issued a warning to future generations: his miracle drug—responsible for saving millions of lives—could one day be useless. “It is not difficult to make microbes resistant to penicillin in the laboratory by exposing them to concentrations not sufficient to kill them,” Flemming…




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  • The Promises and Challenges of Precision Medicine

    by Bill Frist




    Only 15% of our health is determined by the healthcare we receive, the rest are the social determinants of health: environment, economic stability, access to care, education and community resources. Paying attention to that 85% is imperative, and precision medicine aims to take targeted genetic and molecular information and consider it in tandem with data about…




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  • It’s National Health Care Decisions Day: Who will you designate?

    by Bill Frist




    End-of-life planning is an important part of healthcare. It’s a refrain I’ve been repeating. I’ve called for changes in care models, payment schemes, and physician education. But all of the needed changes aren’t at the system level. There are steps that every individual must take as well. Along with Gary Dodd, a palliative care nurse…




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  • Where Health And Environment Converge

    by Bill Frist




    An area of healthcare that has recently become very important to me is community transformation projects focusing on the social determinants of health: environment, economic stability, access to care, education, and community resources. Only 15% of our health is determined by the healthcare we receive, so looking at the other 85% is not only imperative,…




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  • Tackling Administrative Waste: The Promises Of Data Science For The FDA

    by Bill Frist




    Our healthcare system needs an overhaul in lots of areas and the FDA is not exempt. It’s slow, expensive, and cumbersome. Modernizing the FDA is now the focus of several initiatives including ones from Congress and the Bipartisan Policy Center. One of the top priorities: using data to speed the drug approval process without sacrificing safety….




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  • Telemedicine Is A Game-Changer For Patients, The System

    by Bill Frist




    The Affordable Care Act won’t address our physician shortage–a problem expected to grow to as many as 52,000 needed physicians by 2025. And for many, the ACA still isn’t providing actually affordable care. To bridge these gaps, we must find innovative ways facilitate hassle free access to a provider that is more cost-effective. There is a…




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  • New Tennessee telemedicine law grows health care access

    by Bill Frist




    I am convinced that telemedicine is a crucial part of the solution for delivery of healthcare in the United States–care that isn’t yet affordable or accessible for all. Tennessee has made important steps toward ensuring telemedicine is an option for our citizens, but there’s more to do. Telemedicine is in its infancy in Tennessee. Specialists…




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  • Time to advance a new oversight framework for health IT

    by Bill Frist




    By former Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), MD (The Hill; December 11) Innovations in digital technology have changed the way we live our everyday lives, and we are finally, just now, seeing them change the way that we deliver health care and manage our own health. Now new technology makes it possible for us to track…




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  • Building Companies that Change Medicine

    by Bill Frist




    I am a partner at Cressey & Company, a health care focused private investment firm, where I serve as chairman of the company’s Distinguished Executives Council.  Yesterday, we announced the closing on a new fund that totals $615 million. Health care in America is changing so rapidly and I believe health-IT is an essential part…




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  • November Update

    by Bill Frist




    The fall has been exceptionally busy around here with several international trips and speaking engagements, but I was able to be home for Thanksgiving and got to enjoy some of the beautiful autumn color that Middle Tennessee has to offer. I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving holiday. Here’s an update on some of…




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  • Helping VA Do Better

    by Bill Frist




    (Military Times, October 15, 2014) By Bill Frist In his second inaugural address, President Lincoln articulated a clear principle to guide our nation’s commitment to military veterans. The goal, he said, should be “to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan.” That sentiment still resonates a…




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  • Join me to Discuss Palliative Care: We know we need it, but how will the system pay for it?

    by Bill Frist




    UPDATED: If you missed the event, the entire webinar broken down by speaker is archived online. On September 10, 1 pm EDT, I and some friends will be speaking at a live, free webinar sponsored by the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) on palliative care. We certainly need it, but how will the…




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  • Why the VA Should Look Toward Proven Health Care Solutions

    by Bill Frist




    By Bill Frist and Tom Daschle While it is not a secret that the Veteran’s Affairs hospital system has had inefficiencies for many years, the recent spotlight on veterans’ long wait times for basic medical attention has made headlines for good reason. Long wait times are dangerous and extremely costly, resulting in unnecessary emergency room…




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  • Building a Healthier America

    by Bill Frist




    Last week I joined the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA)’s Building a Healthier Future Summit. It was a fun meeting with lots of good food and guest appearances by Sesame Street’s Abby Cadabby and Doug E. Fresh. I’m a firm believer that we must make the healthy choice the easy choice to change behavior…




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  • Bloomberg: 30% of Obamacare Needs to Be Fixed

    by Bill Frist




      Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) — Former Senator Bill Frist, a Republican from Tennessee, discusses the Affordable Care Act with Trish Regan on Bloomberg Television’s “Street Smart.” (Source: Bloomberg)




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  • End-of-life stories give us impetus to learn

    by Bill Frist




    (The Tennessean, December 1, 2013) By Sen. Bill Frist, M.D. and Manoj Jain M.D. Authors’ note: This is the final of six parts. We are honored and extremely grateful that so many shared their family stories with us. We have preserved the stories but have changed individuals’ names. Over the past three months, as we…




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  • Notes from the Road: 2013 Health Care Investors Conference

    by Bill Frist




    NASHVILLE | Last Wednesday, (Nov 13) I had the privilege of joining Bass, Berry and Sims and Deloitte at the 2013 Health Care Investors Conference. I sat down with Brad Smith, CEO of Aspire Health; Andrew Lasher, CMO of Aspire Health; and Anna Gene O’Neal, CEO of Alive Hospice, to discuss some of challenges and…




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  • Bloomberg: The Real Price of Healthcare

    by Bill Frist




    Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) — Bloomberg View columnist Lanhee Chen is joined by former U.S. Senate majority leader William Frist, Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy, Boston Consulting Group partner Michael Ringel, John Hopkins Medicine CEO Paul Rothman, Thompson Holdings CEO Tommy Thompson, and Walgreen CEO Gregory Wasson to discuss the state of healthcare in the United…




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  • We often avoid important conversation

    by Bill Frist




    (The Tennessean, October 6, 2013) By Sen. Bill Frist, M.D. and Manoj Jain, M.D. When a patient’s lymph node biopsy came back as a rare form of lymphoma, he did not have long to live. In the six months before he died, he did not settle his family affairs or financial accounts. His doctors should…




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  • It’s never too early to discuss your final wishes

    by Bill Frist




    (The Tennessean, September 22, 2013) By Manoj Jain, M.D. and Sen. Bill Frist, M.D. A week before my (Dr. Jain) elderly parents came for a long visit, I asked them if they would be willing to have a conversation about end-of-life planning. But it wasn’t until the day before they left that we sat at…




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  • Future of Healthcare is Personalized Medicine

    by Bill Frist




    (Diplomatic Courier, July 08, 2013) By Sen. Bill Frist, M.D. It is a common refrain that America has the best health care in the world, but our people are far from the healthiest. We spend twice as much as any other nation on health services, yet rank dismally, behind more than twenty other countries in…




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  • States’ Rare Chance to Expand Medicaid

    by Bill Frist




    (Politico, April 11, 2013) By Bill Frist A proposal unveiled by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam late last month leverages federal funds to purchase private coverage for new Medicaid eligibles in the state’s health insurance exchange. In recent weeks, Arkansas became the first state to embrace a similar plan. This market-based approach, known as “premium assistance,”…




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  • To Contain Health Care Costs, Pay Doctors Differently

    by Bill Frist




    (Politico, March 4, 2013) by Bill Frist and Steven Schroeder Lawmakers have spent decades dancing around how to stop health care costs from eating up greater and greater portions of our overall budget. Even now, the proposals on the table look at cuts in services, asking seniors covered under Medicare to pick up a higher…




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  • Podcast: Bill Frist Discusses the Fellowship Group with Modern Healthcare

    by Bill Frist




    Transplant surgeon and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) sees a healthcare industry in flux, driven by the need crack the “value equation” that ties cost control to outcomes. Frist signed on as co-director of a new fellowship program established by the Nashville Healthcare Council to help council members’ executives meet that challenge. Modern…




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  • How do you want to die?

    by Bill Frist




    (The Week, Sept 11, 2012) It’s a fraught question, but unless we move beyond caricatured “death panels” and deal with grim realities thoughtfully and responsibly, we’re all in trouble. How do you envision death with dignity? I like to think of being at home in the comforting and supportive environment of family and friends. But…




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  • Personalized Medicine

    by Bill Frist




    (The Hill, July 10, 2012) It’s time to think of health in a disruptive way. Policy must set the enabling landscape, but the truly dramatic and the transformative will come from the exploding but still very young field of personalized medicine. All healthcare is local, and all health is personal. Personalized medicine is healthcare targeted…




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  • What my doctor thinks of Obamacare?

    by Bill Frist




    (The Week, August 29, 2012) Lawmakers in D.C. may truly be committed to improving America’s health-care system. But according to actual physicians, our leaders are going about it all wrong Want real health reform that is in the interest of you and your family? Don’t make the same mistake that Washington did. In formulating ObamaCare,…




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  • Need for Affordable Care Cuts Across Party Lines

    by Bill Frist




    (The Hill, August 1, 2012) Need for affordable care cuts across party lines By Tom Daschle and Bill Frist On June 28, 2012, the Supreme Court issued a decision that affects the health and well-being of every American, as well as the fiscal future of our nation. By affirming the constitutionality of the Patient Protection…




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  • Why both parties should embrace ObamaCare’s state exchanges

    by Bill Frist




    (The Week, July 18, 2012) By Bill Frist, M.D. Largely lost in the fight over ObamaCare is a worthy provision that lets states develop insurance systems that are right for them — but they must act soon. When the new health care reform law was being debated in 2009 and 2010, everyone talked about “death…




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  • The world needs more health-care workers — millions more

    by Bill Frist




    (The Week, Posted on June 19, 2012) By Bill Frist, M.D. The most impressive part of any hospital or health clinic is the caring, skilled employees who prevent and treat illness. But the workforce we have is not enough.   As I visit health programs in far off corners of the world and right here…




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  • How to wean America from its dangerous food addiction

    by Bill Frist




    (The Week, posted on May 22, 2012 ) By Bill Frist, M.D. The nation’s obesity epidemic is as much about brain chemistry as it is poor diet and laziness — a fact we must realize if we’re going to treat obesity effectively In ancient history, eating was for survival. Food was tough to come by…




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  • How Facebook is reinventing organ donation

    by Bill Frist




    (The Week, Posted on May 8, 2012) By Bill Frist, M.D. Thousands of Americans die each year waiting for heart, lung, and kidney transplants that never materialize. Mark Zuckerberg is intent on changing that What do you use Facebook for? To keep up with friends, share pictures of your kids, or pass around the latest…




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  • Premium Support is the Only Way to Fix America’s Medicare Mess

    by Bill Frist




    (The Week, March 27, 2012) By Bill Frist, M.D. To save Medicare — and rein in our national debt — we must transform the entitlement program into a defined-contribution system Nothing is scarier than losing your health. A close second, however, is getting sick and not being able to afford the care you need. For…




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  • 3 ways to fix America’s child poverty problem

    by Bill Frist




    (The Week, February 28, 2012) By Bill Frist, M.D. One in five American children suffers through extreme financial hardship. It doesn’t have to be that way Americans hear a lot about decline. Declines in manufacturing, fading productivity, plummeting home values, spiralling deficits, and sadly, dwindling faith in the American dream. Let me tell you where…




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  • Childhood Obesity

    by Bill Frist







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  • Private sector must join in fight against child obesity

    by Bill Frist




    More than one-fifth of preschool children are overweight or obese. That’s 20 percent of kids 5 years old and younger who are already on track for chronic health problems such as cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease before their first day of kindergarten. That’s more than 4 million toddlers already queued up for health…




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  • Frist Named As Vice Chair For First Lady Michelle Obama’s Childhood Obesity Foundation

    by Bill Frist




    Partnership for a Healthier America Expands Leadership, Naming Board of Directors and Honorary Vice Chairs Sen. Frist, Mayor Booker Join First Lady Michelle Obama as Honorary Leaders of Childhood Obesity Foundation Nine-Member Board of Directors Brings Vast Array of Experience and Expertise to Support Partnership, Guide its Activities Washington, DC – The Partnership for a Healthier…




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