Daschle Not the Prescription for Health Care Reform

Leaks on the Internet and a New York Times article yesterday report that President-elect Obama is considering former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to be his health care czar.  While I have much respect for the contributions of the long time public servant and have no doubt that he has knowledge on health care, Daschle represents Washington’s business as usual and is the wrong selection for the job.

In an undertaking that necessitates a non-political and non-partisan approach, Daschle’s former and current roles place him as a Washington insider and lobbyist.  The South Dakotan served in the Senate in a partisan role as both majority and minority leader and his reentrance onto the scene may only serve to draw quick fire and roadblocks from Republicans.  Since leaving the Senate, Daschle continues to work in the capital as an unofficial lobbyist for a K street firm consulting health care organizations.  He represents that which the electorate said on November 4th it wants to leave behind.

Our health care czar must not be another Washington lawyer-politician, but should be an outsider that has cared for patients at the bedside or in the exam room.  The health care czar must not consider Washington, D.C. to be the center of the universe, but hold the average American patient as the central figure.  As an old medical student dean admonished me as a first year medical student, “Remember the centrality of the patient and you will not go wrong.”  A relative outsider to The Beltway that knows health care at its most basic level will  engender trust and validate the efforts of any broad sweeping reform plans as not just another Washington political game.   At risk of sounding somewhat of a broken record here, but John Kitzhaber is the logical choice for this post.

cross posted from The Country Doc Report

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About The Country Doc

Practicing full spectrum family medicine and teaching the next generation of physicians from the heart of logging and farming country in Elma, Washington.
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2 Responses to Daschle Not the Prescription for Health Care Reform

  1. Darrell Prows says:

    There is much written that says that single payer actually does a much better job while saving billions of dollars. In addition, moving the medical expense for current UAW workers and retirees to a new system would go a long way towards saving the auto makers, and they are openly advocating this. Seemingly this is one thing that BHO needs to fasttrack.

  2. elizabeth allen says:

    Single payer health care is the only remedy for the US. Europe started single payer after WW2 when they were broke, like the US today. Single payer is the system (HR676) the bill is already written. Physcians for National Health Care the largest group of doctors/health care providers want single payer. If Dashle (the lobbyist) has his way we will NEVER have single payer which is the only proven remedy saving jobs, offering preventative care. Europeans have the best health care system in the world. The US is 38th behind Cuba and Costa Rica. Our infant mortality rate is higher than some 3rd world countries. The “for profit system” we have now was provided by Richard Nixon and was never meant to cover all americans, or offer even the most basic health care. The US is the only country in the world that has a “for profit” system. Our auto industries and corporations are forced to provide health care driving up costs on our products and driving our jobs overseas.  Please do not let Daschle/Obama and the neo con corporate democrats destroy our chance to have a real solution to health care. Please take the time and look at HR676 single payer system.