Daschle Will Play Hardball on Health Reform

Incoming HHS Secretary will avoid Hillary's pitfalls
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 15, 2008 11:01 AM CST
President-elect Barack Obama stands with Health and Human Services Secretary-designate, former Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle, at a news conference in Chicago, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Tom Daschle, Barack Obama's incoming Director of Health and Human Services, has an aggressive strategy for reforming health care, and no intentions of seeing it fizzle the way the Clintons' efforts did in 1993, reports the Los Angeles Times. The key will be reeling in major health-care interest groups, along with members of Congress, and forcefully heading off the kind of opposition campaign that scared voters last time around. 

One of the missteps in Hillary Clinton's reform efforts was freezing out key groups, including physicians and members of Congress. Daschle has a specific plan in mind—including a new federal agency to set guidelines on treatments—but on this issue the politics may be more crucial than the vision. To assuage voter worries, Obama has promised that Americans can keep any health coverage they're happy with.
(Read more Tom Daschle stories.)