03 February 2009

Who's Next for HHS?

So Tom Daschle is out for HHS secretary.   I'm a little surprised, since he was a real political heavyweight, and he had the White House team in a full-court press to save the nomination.   But the optics of the thing were pretty terrible (over $100K in unpaid taxes?  Yikes.) so it's probably just as well.

Once again, my vote for the HHS secretary (and de facto point man for universal health care) is former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber.  Kitzhaber has experience in health care, being the architech of the Oregon Health Plan, and has remained active in health policy circles since leaving office.  The major down side is that he is not well connected in DC, and will not be able to shepherd a bill through Congress like Daschle would have.  


  1. And you (collectively) thought Obama was going to be different from Bush. Heh.

  2. Shadowfax, I agree with your points. (Except for your misspelling of architect)

  3. I guess this is nomination #3 that involves Obama nominating a tax cheat to a position of power and authority.

    This is #(who knows) where there is a scandal surrounding the nomination (add Bill Richardson in there for sure).

    Obama is off to a great start!

  4. Hopenchange. Taxnspend. Liencheat.

  5. My understanding is that the taxes were a problem, but that the large money from consulting for health care businesses was more damning overall.

  6. I suspect that Tom's problems run a lot deeper than tax problems, because we already had one Obama pick confirmed with tax problems and heck Tom could just claim ignorance and paid his back taxes. Which is the same sort of thing that most private citizens would be offered. Here is what you owe, pay us or we take you to court, then we take you to jail, we fine you, and you will still end up paying us. Same thing happened to me a long time ago. No raids in the middle of the night, just a simple letter with what I owed, which I promptly cut a check for, because I screwed up.

    I wouldn't worry though a HHS secretary that isn't a DC powerhouse. The dems have as close to a super majority as you can get, so if the democratic party wants universal health care than they have no good reason why it can't be passed. The liberals don't have a republican in the white house or a republican majority in either house so they have no good excuses anymore on why there isn't universal health care in this country by the next round of congressional elections.

    Here's hoping that some sort of fiscal responsibility might win the day but I doubt it. Bush, and his country club republicans, single handedly ruined any hope of fiscal responsibility in government for a long time to come.

  7. Look no further than Lois Quam. On Fortune 500's list of America's most powerful women, and former head of United Health's AARP division that also brought out Medicaid Part D for prescription drugs...and on Hillary's Health Care Task Force....and wife of very prominent Democratic 527'er Matt Entenza.

  8. Part of the problem here is that everyone with experience at this point gained it during an era of corruption. So if Obama wants to find somebody with experience and connections who doesn't have any skeletons in the closet -- well, there's not much to choose from.

    That said, Obama's response: "But I think that, look, ultimately, I campaigned on changing Washington and bottom-up politics. And I don't want to send a message to the American people that there are two sets of standards: one for powerful people and one for ordinary folks who are working every day and paying their taxes."

    Refreshing, ain't it?


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