Obama picks Daschle to head HHS

Former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) has accepted the position of Health and Human Services secretary in the coming Obama administration, Roll Call quotes Democratic sources as saying. Daschle was also considered for White House health care czar, reports Politico, but the Obama transition team thought he could be more effective with secretary status. “Of all the proposals that Obama wants to enact, health care requires the most input and tough negotiations,” one of the Democratic officials said. “No one knows the House and Senate like Tom Daschle.”

Tom Daschle

Tom Daschle

If confirmed, Daschle will replace Mike Leavitt in overseeing a $707 billion budget and 64,000-plus employees across numerous government agencies and health programs. Reporters can always check out his book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health Care Crisis,” published in February, for clues as to his thinking.

Update: Jacob Goldstein of The Wall Street Journal‘s Health Blog offers a summary of Daschle’s views on health care as expressed in his book, “Critical.”

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