November 20th, 2008
03:32 PM ET
9 years ago

Daschle setting healthcare goals

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Daschle is looking forward to his job in the Obama administration."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle told CNN Thursday that he is excited about the possibility of heading Health and Human Services in an Obama administration where he would be a point person in helping to reform the nation’s healthcare system.

Daschle, a close advisor to President-elect Barack Obama, is expected to be nominated for this Cabinet-level position if he passes the vetting process. His top priority as HHS secretary would be healthcare, one of Obama’s signature policy issues during the campaign.

"I hope to have the plan enacted by next year, and then it will take several years to implement,” said Daschle, as he waited to board a plane in Washington, DC bound for Obama’s hometown of Chicago.

When asked if the U.S., in this current economic climate, could afford to reform the healthcare system, Daschle said it is imperative.

“We can't afford not to do it,” he said. “If we do nothing, we'll be paying twice as much on healthcare in 10 years as we do today."

Daschle served as Democratic leader in the Senate from 1995 until he lost reelection in 2004. Representing South Dakota, Daschle was first elected as a congressman in 1978 and served in the House until he was elected to the Senate in 1986.

Daschle recently authored a book on healthcare titled “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.”

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Tom Daschle
soundoff (115 Responses)


    November 20, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |


    November 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. email4kh

    The crime in this situation is that multinational, multibillion-dollar companies are allowed to pay people sub-poverty wages and not provide health care benefits. That's screwed up.

    November 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. JB

    Hey Ann-

    What do you know about the Canadioan healthcare system? Do you know that about 70% of the population pays for additional care because the basic plan sucks? Does your friend?

    So, those without the money to pay for additional coverage have bad care. They pay more in taxes, and then have to pay additonal monies to get "dedcent" care.

    What are the waiting times for non emergency procedures?

    Why are Buffalo hospitals filled with canadians paying cash for procedures?

    November 20, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. Scott NYC Independent

    All those opposed to the healthcare incentive should be very very careful. We are in a recession and no job is safe, none. Imagine life without healthcare – it could be you.

    November 20, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. nom deplume

    Now comes the really hard part-who do the democrats throw under the bus???

    See, in order to have NH work, you need tort reform, and that means tossing the trial lawyers and the inner city structure of scam artists under the bus. Hard. Because if you don't, you won't have docs for your NH system.

    Require docs to carry lots of insurance? Ha, good luck getting Aetna or Cigna to continue to underwrite malpractice insurance at artificially low rates.

    The gov will have to establish insurance for docs, which will be another bailout–for the trial lawyers.

    Government controlling costs, wages, premiums, and industry. Hmmm. Tell me again what that system is called, comrades???

    November 20, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. GOP=Epic Fail

    kevin...quit foaming at the mouth

    thanks to bush there will be no more good days for a long time, even while Obama takes office....bush has made a HUGE mess

    move to russia or china if you don't have the stomach to digest change, and don't want to roll up you sleeves to work on uniting america.

    November 20, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  8. karen

    I always thought Hillary and Daschle were really close in the senate because they always seemed to be together in photos -I'm happy to see Daschle in the cabinet but please keep Clinton out.

    November 20, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. El Perro Loco

    So the government is going to take over health care now?!Great...they've done such a good job of handling Social Security and Medicare. I guess we can add yet another underfunded entitlement program to the list. The Dems are smart...they know that once a big entitlement program goes in, it can never be undone.

    I do believe that this country needs to do all we can to help those without health care coverage. But a government run program is just not the answer in my book.

    Dookie...I had heard the same thing as you anecdotally, but haven't seen any data to back it up.

    November 20, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Kurt Zunker

    To Kevin:

    Your tired, ignorant, and irrelevant statements are the exact reason why the Republicans have lost the confidence of the American electorate. Your statement should have been, "people Republicans ideals are not the solution they ARE the problem!"

    I hope the American public remembers what party thinks it is acceptable to have millions of children go without basic health care, millions going bankrupt because of medical bills, etc, etc, etc.

    November 20, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  11. xyz

    Under the current system, health care costs are so high because people with no other choice have to go to the emergency room to get even basic needs treated. Emergency rooms cost so much because the people working there are extremely specialized and get paid pretty well. Medicaid and Medicare don't cover nearly enough people, so even still you have people going to the emergency room.

    What needs to happen is that all people need to have access to a primary care physician, who they can see instead of going to the emergency room. Once less people go to the emergency room, health care costs overall will go down. Insuring more people under a national system will actually make things cheaper for those who have private insurance!

    In this country we like to think that we are free because we are free to buy whatever we want. As long as so many people are dying from lack of health care, can't get affordable housing, can't afford education...then we don't have as free of a country as we think we do. Freedom is not just freedom of the market, but freedom to live without fear that you won't have basic needs met.

    November 20, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. mjva

    I'm a Canadian living in America. Canadians would riot if you took their healthcare system away. It works exceedingly well with minor issues like any other system. I miss it. The private insurance companies here are bankrupting people who are sick. If its not fixed, this is your NEXT nation-crippling crisis.

    November 20, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. Vickie

    This is good! I agree with LyonsPhilly, Let's do this! We all need it and remember this is our government and finally they are doing what the people need! Great News!

    November 20, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. Kevin

    I wonder how many people who don't have healthcare right now drive a really nice car and have a hefty car payment, have a satellite dish, or the premium cable package, or any number of luxury items that they could give up for a $100/month health insurance payment. I'd think that if they don't have health care, they could give up one of their luxuries to pay for health insurance. It is not a "right" to have every cable channel one can get or drive nice car, but priorities matter, and everyone should live within their means. Even if it means giving up some luxuries. If the gov't thinks everyone should have health insurance, I'd like to find out what percentage of Americans can afford it, but choose not to purchase it b/c they want cable or a nice car, or likes nice dinners at fancy restaurants. I'd also like to point out that Mr. Obama's idea of "free" health insurance is not anywhere near free. American taxpayers, and ultimately the small percentage of Americans who actually pay taxes, will pay for this. Some of you out there think that is fair, but it is not fair for those of us who are paying for other people to live off of the government and not work hard. Just think about that. I'm all for helping people out who are in a pinch, but not providing for freeloaders who could provide for themselves.

    November 20, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. Mike, Syracuse NY

    How about figuring out how to pay for it as goal #1?

    November 20, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. donna

    Hey JB
    You know nothing about Canadian health care. I do not pay extra for treatments, and the comments about long wait times are wrong. I have been to the emergency dept in a Florida hospital and I waited much longer there. If you take the number people who go across to your country as a percentage of Canadians, you will find it is very small, our health care system works, and yours bankrupts people. We may pay more taxes, but if you add your health care costs to your taxes, you will find you end up paying more. I know my American brother does. If you think it does not work, tell me why so many countries use our system or a version of it!!

    November 20, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  17. scott l

    the same man who closed shop and the only one when the senate had a terrors threat a few years back remember..........

    November 20, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. Meh

    Kevin> Right, because the health care system is AWESOME now. That's why most people who have lost their houses have lost them due to not being able to pay their mortgages b/c of HEALTHCARE bills!
    The system is broken. It needs to be fixed. Being healthy is a right, not a privledge.

    November 20, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. Bruce

    to Kevin:
    You say that if everyone gave up things that they could afford $100 month healthcare policy.
    Well not sure wher you atre getting your numbers, but I am a 54 year old man and when i look at private health insurance the premium for me is over $350 a month, and for my wife who is 48 the premium is over $300 a month....we both work for small businesses that do offer insurance to theirr employees. So we would have to pay $650 a month for insurance. We do not drive fancy cars, no have the high end cable package, but with rent, utilities, car and life insurance, food and gas costs we are just making ends meet. We know we are rolling the dice but we cannto afford the amount that is being asked for for health insurnace converage, purchaning it as individuals, not corporate. If we could find health insurance for $100 month for us both.we would have it. But that is not the reality of the system as it exists now.

    November 20, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. Dave

    JB: Where are you getting your statistics? I'm Canadian and have never paid extra fees for decent coverage. The only health care costs I ever pay for are dentist fees and prescriptions, although those are mostly covered by extended medical through my school. So yeah...I really don't envy you guys. You've been brainwashed by HMOs into thinking you'll die without them. I feel sorry for you if you're that easily deceived.

    November 20, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. Dave

    PS – one thing that always confuses me about American conservatives: have you ever noticed that most of the rest of the developed, Western world already HAS these things? I'm not sure how you can maintain the illusion that everything will fall apart if universal healthcare is implemented, since you are one of the LAST wealthy countries in the world NOT to have it? Dumbfounding logic.

    November 20, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  22. Lisa

    Universal Health Care for Everyone!!! Let's make it happen!!

    November 20, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  23. G.R.I.T. - Girl Raised in the South

    Dookie: I have never once heard of a person from Canada, England, France or Germany having to come to the U.S. for surgery. Iraq or other third world countries, maybe, but not the ones you named.

    November 20, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. Tiff of lithia springs


    I'm a healthcare provider. At best you can find something for $320 a month and that is a bottom of the barrel premium.

    I tell you something else a survey has gone out and 49% of providers say if they can find something else in 3 years that is what they will do because if the insurance companies.

    The healthcare industry is about to get very interesting.

    November 20, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. karen-phoenix

    We already are a socialist country–police, fire, transportation, road repairs and removal, schools. We just do not have health care and if we did it just might improve our ability to attract companies back into this country. I have friends who live and work in Canada and they sure like it and feel safe if they move from job to job. Their economy is NOT collapsing!

    November 20, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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