Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Daschle As New "Health Czar"

Sources: Obama Picks Daschle To Head HHS
"President-elect Barack Obama has chosen former Sen. Tom Daschle to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the former Senate majority leader has indicated he wants the job, three sources close to the transition told CNN Wednesday.

"The sources said that Daschle negotiated that he will also serve as the White House health "czar," or point person, so that he will report directly to the incoming president."

"By wearing two hats, Daschle -- not White House staffers -- will be writing the health care plan that Obama submits to Congress next year."
I've written about the current Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mike Leavitt. It's a powerful position. It oversees these agencies, that is, the heads of these agencies would essentially report to Daschle:
  • OS - Office of the Secretary
  • ACF - Administration for Children & Families
  • AoA - Administration on Aging
  • AHRQ - Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
  • ATSDR - Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry
  • CDC - Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
  • CMS - Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • FDA - Food & Drug Administration
  • HRSA - Health Resources & Services Administration
  • IHS - Indian Health Service
  • NIH - National Institutes of Health
  • OIG- Office of Inspector General
  • SAMHSA - Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
As you can see, this appointment has a lot to do with food, food safety, food inspections, health research, drug approval, healthcare - all topics that interest me. The FDA alone, in the last year, has been responsible for loosening regulation on:
  • Genetically modified meat, fish, and dairy food
  • Bisphenol A in plastic bottles
  • Irradiation of fresh produce
Daschle would be in a position to reevaluate those actions. And, as a former Senate Majority leader, this man knows how to work in a bipartisan way to get things through Congress. That's an asset, considering that a healthcare bill is likely on the upcoming legislation menu.

Here's a short (4:22 minutes) YouTube of former Senator Daschle being interviewed by Steve Clemons of the New America Foundation last July. It gives a sense of where health care in the country is headed:


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