U.S. Senate Panel Begins Hearings on Daschle as Secretary of HHS
On Thursday, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) is scheduled to appear before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for a hearing to consider his nomination by President-elect Barack Obama for HHS secretary, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The committee, chaired by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), will not decide whether Daschle's nomination should go to the Senate for a vote. That choice is reserved for the Senate Finance Committee.
Line of Questioning
Instead, members of the HELP committee -- which is expected to develop health care legislation in the coming months -- are "eager to get Daschle's perspective" on health care reform (Freking, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/8).
HELP Committee members are expected to question Daschle "sharply" about Obama's proposed public health insurance plan, which is "one of the most contentious aspects of ... Obama's domestic agenda," according to the New York Times.
The idea of a "government-run insurance program modeled after Medicare" is "anathema to many insurers, employers and Republicans" because it would compete with private insurers.
The Times reports, "No other proposal so clearly defines the political and philosophical differences between Mr. Obama and Republicans, or provokes such deep disagreements" (Pear, New York Times, 1/8).
Republicans at the hearing likely will question Daschle regarding statements made in his book "Critical," which describes his opinion on problems within the current health care system and proposes solutions, CQ HealthBeat reports (Wayne, CQ HealthBeat, 1/7).
The AP/Chronicle reports that most analysts predict Daschle will face little difficulty in winning the confirmation (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 1/8).
The Politico on Thursday examined Daschle's opinions on health care reform. According to The Politico, Daschle's book on health care reform is critical of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's (D-N.Y.) failed proposal to reform health care 15 years ago. As a result, Daschle's proposal for reform "is a simple philosophy of ABC -- Anything But Clinton" (Brown, The Politico, 1/8).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.