[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/12/11/transition.wrap/art.obama.grab.cnn.jpg caption="Obama announced the pick of Daschle Thursday."]CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama picked former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle for two important roles Thursday - secretary of Health and Human Services and director of the White House Office of Health Reform.
"He will be responsible not just for implementing our health care plan. He will also be the lead architect of that plan," Obama said, calling Daschle "one of America's foremost health care experts."
"If we want to overcome our economic challenges, we must also finally address our health care challenge," Obama said. Appearing at a press conference with Obama, Daschle said it is "so exciting" to take on the dual role not just to implement reform "but helping to generate it."
"We have the most expensive health care system in the world, but are not the healthiest nation in the world," Daschle said.
"Our growing costs are unsustainable, and the plight of the uninsured is unconscionable," he said.
"Addressing our health care challenges will not only mean healthier and longer lives for millions, it will also make American companies more competitive, address the cause of half of all of our personal bankruptcies and foreclosures and help pull our economy out of its current tailspin."