Bush’s Rumored Health Care Cabinet Choices Emerge
Appointees to top health care positions under a potential George W. Bush administration are being "unofficially aired in the health care community," CongressDaily reports. Many of the names being floated served during the Reagan or George H.W. Bush administrations or were congressional aides. The "top health slot," HHS secretary, is the "most crowded field." One name under consideration is Gail Wilensky, who was HCFA administrator and White House health policy advisor for former President Bush. She currently heads the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee, and helped develop health strategy for the younger Bush's campaign. Another potential secretary, according to CongressDaily, is University of North Carolina School of Public Health Dean William Roper. Roper ran the CDC under the elder Bush and was HCFA administrator in Ronald Reagan's second term. He also worked as a White House health policy advisor for both Reagan and Bush. Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) -- who is seen as the "point man" for the Senate GOP on health issues --is also under consideration. He was elected yesterday to chair the National Republican Senatorial Committee, but an aide said, "it would be 'hard to turn [a position] down if the president asks you to serve." Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) is also seen as a potential HHS head.
Those rumored to be on the list for HCFA administrator include Health Insurance Association of America President Charles Kahn -- a former health aide to Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) -- and Howard Cohen, who served as the House Commerce Committee's health counsel under Rep. Thomas Bliley (R-Va.). For the "key policymaker slot" of Deputy Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, one option is said to be Sally Canfield, who was a health aide to Rep. Jim McCrery (R-La.) and is currently advising Bush on health issues. CongressDaily also reports that Federation of American Hospitals President Thomas Scully, a deputy at the Office of Management and Budget under former President Bush, is "a potential candidate" to direct OMB under George W. Bush (Fulton, CongressDaily, 12/5).