Daschle Will Bring a Lot to the Health Care Debate

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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, he’ll definitely come prepared with some ideas. In fact, he’s written a book on the issue. And, he’s written numerous articles advancing his ideas, including this one for the Huffington Post earlier in the year.

One of Daschle’s reform ideas is to cut through the rat’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 don’t know enough about the full scope of Daschle’s ideas to pass judgment at this point. But I do like that he seems to understand the problem isn’t just a supply issue, but a cost one as well — and it’s going to take a lot more than just throwing heaps of money at the current system. I’m not sure about this Federal Health Board but I’m completely in favor of untangling the often incomprehensible bureaucracy that’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 Senator’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. It’s going to take some serious thinking and hard work. We’ll see if Daschle is up to the task, but he certainly seems to be well-versed in the issue.

  • J. Harden

    “One of Daschle’s reform ideas is to cut through the rat’s nest of bureaucracy by establishing a Federal Health Board”


    “One of Dasclhle’s reform ideas is to cut through the rat’s nest of bureacracy by establishing a layer of bureacracy which will oversee lesser bureacracies under it.”


  • http://maverickviews.blogspot.com/ Alan Stewart Carl

    Josh: Yeah, that would be my concern. As I said, I’m not sure about this board idea. I don’t understand how another regulatory board is going to improve the situation. I’d prefer someone to just take an axe to the rat’s nest and not feel the need to replace said nest with something that could become equally as complicated. But at least Daschle seems to recognize that government intervention HAS caused problems. That takes us a step closer to the solution than the usual “gubment should pay for all of it” mentality I’ve heard from others. And since I haven’t read his book (yet) I don’t understand his vision for this board well enough to condemn it.

    I have a feeling we’ll be hearing a LOT more about his ideas in the next year.

  • Cy

    Josh, ASC: For what it’s worth, I think the idea has a lot of merit. A good friend of mine is works in a fairly unremarkable doctor’s office, and there’s a massive amount of minutiae and red tape to get through for every different patient-insurer-procedure combination, with different providers providing different — but very similar! — benefits at different and not-so-similar costs. It’s difficult for me to see the downside to something that will streamline and standardize the health care industry.