Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Daschle for HHS?

Word around town is that Tom Daschle, the former Democratic Senate Majority Leader, is going to be named HHS Secretary.

That would mean that President-Elect Obama is going with a political and health care policy heavyweight.

With word yesterday that Senator Kennedy has appointed Hillary Clinton (presuming she stays in the Senate) to take the lead on the health insurance reform portion of his health bill, it is clear that the playing field is filling up with Democratic heavyweights.

A Daschle appointment would make clear that President-Elect Obama does not intend to cede this process entirely to the Congress. It would also indicate that it will be HHS that will take the health care policy lead on behalf of the administration--not White House staff. That would be different from prior efforts.

It also tells me that Obama would have a very smart politician on hand to keep the Congress within the bounds of what can get the votes, what will get broad stakeholder support, and at the same time what will fly on main street.

If it pans out, Daschle would be a superb pick for the new President.

February 2008 post regarding Daschle's book on health care reform and Obama's comments on it: A "Health Care Fed" and Obama
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