Daschle Brings Specific Ideas on Health Care Reform to HHS Post
The nomination of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) as the next HHS secretary has provided President-elect Barack Obama with a "hardheaded political strategy for his push" for health care reform, the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the Times, Daschle, whom Obama also named as director of a new White House Office of Health Reform, has "provided a virtual road map for the kind of campaign the Obama White House and its allies will probably pursue in their effort to avoid the pitfalls that doomed" health care reform efforts by former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
Daschle has "put a premium on cooperation between the White House, Congress and major health care interest groups" and "favors moving decisively to seize political momentum and, if necessary, cut off opposition, something he said Clinton failed to do," the Times reports.
Daschle has proposed specific and "potentially controversial" plans for health care reform, according to the Times. Among other plans, Daschle has proposed to establish a Federal Health Board modeled after the Federal Reserve to determine the medications, medical devices and other treatments that federal health care programs should cover based on cost-effectiveness.
In addition, Daschle has proposed a requirement that all U.S. residents obtain health insurance and the establishment of a public health plan to provide coverage for those who do not obtain private coverage (Levey, Los Angeles Times, 12/15).
Health Care 'Czar'
According to the Wall Street Journal, as director of the White House Office of Health Reform, Daschle will serve as a "health czar of sorts" -- one of a number of czars whom Obama has appointed to address various issues.
Obama seeks to "have someone in the White House with the president's ear to coordinate policy and give the topic the weight it deserves," and the appointment of a czar "gives an issue prominence, allows for coordination among agencies and streamlines decision making," the Journal reports (Meckler, Wall Street Journal, 12/15).
Daschle will have a role on health care reform that "truly does represent a czar role," Phil Blando of the health care consulting group AB+M Partners said, adding, "He's the go-to guy across the board. People will try to end run around him, and they're going to have nowhere to go" (Frates, The Politico, 12/13).
On Saturday, NPR's "Weekend Edition Saturday" reported on the Daschle nomination. The segment includes comments from NPR's Juan Williams about how Daschle and the Obama administration will address health care reform (Simon, "Weekend Edition Saturday," NPR, 12/13).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.