Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a heart surgeon by trade but a politician through and through, has at times had to grapple with blending aspects from both of those jobs. The Senate majority leader who parted ways with the Bush
administration by favoring use of federal dollars for embryonic stem-cell research is also the same person who famously misdiagnosed Terri Schiavo, the Florida woman who had been comatose since the late '90s and who became a lightning rod in the culture wars over end-of-life care. In speeches, Frist repeatedly calls for fixes to first shore up the finances of Medicare and then throughout the healthcare system, as ways to rein in federal spending improve. Frist, 54, is widely expected to make a run for the presidency in 2008.
Frist sees disease management and early prevention programs among the best ways to improve Americans' health, but also sees a high-tech, wired infrastructure as the best way to collect and share information between patients and providers.