Here is a an opinion piece off CNN.com by former Senate majority leader Bill Frist. Frist makes several points besides the ones I excerpted (like Bush adding the prescription plan to medicare) so hit the link and read the whole article.
The bottom line is: George Bush is a healer.
First, a surprise proclamation came on January 29, 2003.
I was in the first row in the House chamber when three quarters through his State of the Union address, the president boldly said: "I ask the Congress to commit $15 billion over the next five years ... to turn the tide against AIDS in the most afflicted nations of Africa and the Caribbean" and "lead the world in sparing innocent people from a plague of nature."
And lead the world we did. No president in history had made such a commitment against a single disease. Those words and the action that followed meant that instead of another 30 million people dying from HIV infections, maybe just another 20 million will.
Later that night in an interview for CNN in my Capitol office, I predicted that five years later, this commitment to fight HIV would be the single most significant thing the president said that night. It was.
But even I -- who as physician in Africa had witnessed how this virus was hollowing out societies -- did not predict the huge global impact this Bush commitment would have on generations to come.
In my annual medical mission trips to Africa during the Bush administration, I saw the cost of treatment for HIV with life-saving antiretrovirals (ARVs) drop from $4,000 a year to $125. The number of Africans on ARVs jumped from 50,000 to 2.1 million.
And the multiplier effect of Bush making this a presidential global priority was reflected thereafter in every meeting I had as Senate majority leader with the world leaders, including those from Russia, China and India. If you were dealing with the United States, you'd better have made HIV a national priority, because we had.
And it was more than HIV. Six months ago, Tom Daschle, Mike Huckabee, John Podesta, Cindy McCain and I (yes, we five of different persuasions do work together!) went to Rwanda on a fact-finding trip.
Our visits with villagers all over the country opened our eyes to how Bush's five-year, $1.2 billion effort to combat malaria has provided 4 million insecticide-treated bed nets and 7 million life-saving drug therapies to vulnerable people. Yes, George Bush the healer.
Future historians will also note what today's pundits ignore: total US government development aid to Africa quadrupled from $1.3 billion in 2001 to more than $5 billion in 2008. What's more, the Bush administration doubled foreign aid worldwide over the past eight years. You have to go back to the Truman years to match that.