As previously reported, Barack Obama has chosen Tom Daschle to head Health and Human Services and serve as the point-man on health care reform. So, is he up to the task?
Well, heâ€™ll definitely come prepared with some ideas. In fact, heâ€™s written a book on the issue. And, heâ€™s written numerous articles advancing his ideas, including this one for the Huffington Post earlier in the year.
One of Daschleâ€™s reform ideas is to cut through the ratâ€™s nest of bureaucracy by establishing a Federal Health Board which he says would:
[R]esemble our current Federal Reserve Board for the banking industry. Just as the Federal Reserve ensures certain standards, transparency and performance for our banking industry, the Fed Health would ensure harmonization across public programs of health-care protocols, benefits, and transparency. Ultimately, the Fed Health would offer a public framework within which a private health-care system could operate more effectively and efficiently.
I donâ€™t know enough about the full scope of Daschleâ€™s ideas to pass judgment at this point. But I do like that he seems to understand the problem isnâ€™t just a supply issue, but a cost one as well — and itâ€™s going to take a lot more than just throwing heaps of money at the current system. Iâ€™m not sure about this Federal Health Board but Iâ€™m completely in favor of untangling the often incomprehensible bureaucracy thatâ€™s been created by decades of local, state and national laws.
Presumably, Obama tapped Daschle for this post because the President-elect intends to rely on the former Senatorâ€™s expertise and advice on health care. Obama talked big during the election about reform. But actual, workable reform is going to take a lot more than a commitment to expanding health care. Itâ€™s going to take some serious thinking and hard work. Weâ€™ll see if Daschle is up to the task, but he certainly seems to be well-versed in the issue.