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City News Service
Dec 20, 2002
by Staff Wire
Senator Bill Frist is a bad choice to suceed Trent LottSen. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., is a bad choice to succeed Trent Lott as Senate majority leader because of ties to "corporate swindles," the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights said today.
Frist reportedly is among the frontrunners for replacing the Mississippi Republican, who announced today that he will not take the post of majority leader in the next session of Congress. The Santa Monica-based foundation said Frist's "ownership and entanglement with one of America's biggest corporate criminals, Columbia HCA, should prevent him from leading the U.S. Senate."
Columbia HCA is the predecessor to HCA, the nation's largest hospital company. Representatives for Frist and HCA could not be reached to respond to the allegations.
According to the foundation, Frist's family founded Columbia HCA and the senator owns "at least $25 million in stock" in the company.
HCA agreed Wednesday to pay more than $880 million to settle government accusations of health care fraud, Reuters reported. Combined with the company's prior settlements with the government over fraud allegations, Columbia HCA has agreed to pay a total of more than $1.7 billion in penalties, the largest figure ever assessed in a health care fraud case, according to Reuters.
Frist should step aside as a candidate for majority leader "because he owned and profited from one of America's worst corporate criminals," the foundation states. In the Senate, the foundation alleges, "he has used this influence to further HCA's cause by stopping a strong patients"bill of rights,' gridlocking a mandatory Medicare prescription drug benefit and promoting caps on damages for victims who sue negligent hospitals like HCA. "If Frist was a patriot first, he would have sold his HCA stock a long time ago."
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