The Travails of Tom Daschle
Health and the 44th Presidential Administration (Part II). The New York Times editorial is believed to have crystallized the issues of the current political climate and helped former Senator Tom Daschle choose to remove his name from further consideration and confirmation as Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Despite Daschle’s legislative policy expertise and significant history working on health policy issues, his work at Alston & Bird, LLP (though not as a registered lobbyist) and the mounting opposition from Senate Finance Committee Republicans may have ultimately proved an albatross to great to bear. Perhaps, it is ironic that the very attributes that would suggest former Senator Daschle would be a tremendous asset to shepherding and ultimately passing health care reform in America (ie. legislative policy expertise and significant familiarity with policy and industry stakeholders) is also the gauntlet that forced the President’s nominee and friend to fall short of the new ethical standards placed upon this administration.
What does this mean to the average health consumer?
Substantively, the elements of the Obama health plan will not change as the remainder of the President’s braintrust for health remains in tact. If former Senator Tom Daschle were the heart of that effort, then his former co-author, Dr. Jeanne Lambrew is (if at least in part) the brains of the effort. Only time will tell as elements of health reform begin to make their way through the legislative process if there exist another health care champion with the political moxie to accomplish what the Clintons could not back in the 1990’s—reform America’s health care system.