[Guest post by DRJ]
The Chicago Tribune reports Barack Obama has named former Senator Tom Daschle to be his Secretary of Health and Human Services. (Perhaps this explains in part Obama’s revised lobbyist rules that focus on the area of expertise. Daschle’s wife is an established lobbyist regarding aviation matters.)
This position will likely make Daschle the point man on health care — especially since he wrote a book on the subject earlier this year– so let’s look at his record:
Voted to allow more affordable drugs via Canadian imports. Voted YES on allowing patients to sue HMOs in state and federal courts & collect punitive damages up to $5M. Voted YES on increasing tobacco restrictions, an anti-smoking vote. Voted NO on means-based testing for Medicare insurance premiums. Voted YES to block a plan which would allow tax-deductible medical savings accounts. Voted to increase funding to combat the global HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The Publishers’ Weekly review of Daschle’s book adds this: “Daschle proposes creating a Federal Health Board, similar to the Federal Reserve System, whose structure, functions and enforcement capability would be largely insulated from the politics and passion of the moment, in addition to a merging of employers’ plans, Medicaid and Medicare with an expanded FEHBP (Federal Employee Health Benefits Program) that would cover everyone.”
Given his background and connections in Congress, Daschle’s appointment suggests Obama is considering comprehensive health care legislation and wants an experienced politician to handle it.
Bad news for the free market. I know this isn’t the only reason but no wonder the Dow is under 8,000. What’s worse is Obama hasn’t even taken office yet.
UPDATE: Chief of Staff-designate Rahm Emanuel says Obama wants universal health care because incremental increases in coverage won’t be acceptable.