Last week, the Obama team started a ‘community discussion‘ on its Web site about health care. Well, former Sen. Tom Daschle, who will head Health & Human Services, was so happy with the results – more than 3,500 responses – that he and Laura Arnonson, a member of the health policy team, filmed a short video that they posted yesterday to quickly review a couple of key issues and the overall response to their effort.
To be candid, there wasn’t much said that we don’t already know. Daschle, at various turns, says things such as, “We need to really put the emphasis on prevention” and later, “We need to contain costs.” To be fair, the willingness to engage the public in this way is worth noting. After all, when was the last time that HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt deliberately spoke to Americans by way of YouTube? Send us a clip if you have one. Meanwhile, Daschle promises more online discussions are forthcoming.
Len Bruzzese is the executive director of AHCJ and its Center for Excellence in Health Care Journalism. He also is an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism and served for nearly 20 years in daily journalism.
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.”
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.”