Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Frist to moderate health care panel on debate day

Before presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama take the stage at Belmont University in October, they’ll be relegated to having the second national debate of the day in Nashville.

Former Senate Maj. Leader Bill Frist will headline a panel discussion the morning of the debate on the candidates’ stances on national healthcare. The Nashville Health Care Council, a program of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, will host the event.

“It’s really going to be an analysis of what the candidates are saying and which elements of health care reform the candidates are choosing to address,” NHCC spokeswoman Judith Byrd said.

About 15 percent of Americans, or 45.7 million people, did not have health insurance in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

McCain and Obama have proposed fundamentally different health care reform proposals. Obama would create a national health insurance program for those who don’t have employer health insurance or don’t qualify for it; McCain, who opposes federally mandated health insurance, would provide tax credits and dividends for low-income Americans.

The panel discussion works for Nashville because of its prominence in the health care industry, Byrd said. Nashville and Middle Tennessee is home to more than 300 health care companies, including the Frist family-owned HCA, the nation’s largest hospital operator.

Frist, a cardiac surgeon, served in the Senate from 1994-2006 and now works for private investment firm Cressey & Co.

The panel is composed mostly of former advisers to President Bill Clinton: Chris Jennings, a former senior health care adviser for Clinton; Dick Morris, a widely known political strategist who led Clinton’s 1996 presidential campaign; and John Podesta, Clinton’s final Chief of Staff.

Chip Kahn, president of lobbying group Federation of American Hospitals and a former Congressional health adviser, rounds out the panel.

The invitation-only event will be held at 8 a.m. at the Vanderbilt Marriott Hotel. Twelve hours later, the presidential candidates will begin the town-hall presidential debate at Belmont — and will likely face at least one question on the topics discussed that morning.

1 comment:

river said...

is this to be televised please.

we in far flung places would like to view and learn all we can about the next health care pkgs.

thank you.