Daschle Falls, Obama Health Care Drive Suffers a Setback

The abrupt collapse of Tom Daschle’s cabinet nomination on Tuesday undercut President Obama’s mission to expand health care by depriving him of an unusually well positioned architect for a big legislative campaign and leaving him without a backup plan.

By PETER BAKER and ROBERT PEAR
The New York Times

Mr. Daschle’s decision to withdraw his candidacy for secretary of health and human services could slow the president’s drive to reshape the nation’s health care system as the White House searches for a replacement, and it could allow Congress to step into the vacuum during that delay, analysts said.

But the White House insisted that Mr. Daschle’s departure would not stop the effort to cover the uninsured and rein in health costs, a goal that is “bigger than one person,” as the press secretary, Robert Gibbs, put it. “We’re looking for a new nominee,” Mr. Gibbs said, “but the problem has existed for quite some time, and the work toward a solution to make health care more affordable won’t stop or won’t pause while we look for that nominee.”

Since Mr. Daschle was the only person the president seriously considered for the health job, his advisers were left scrambling to find an alternative. Advocates of universal coverage pressed the case for former Gov. Howard Dean of Vermont, a medical doctor, but Mr. Obama just replaced him as chairman of the Democratic National Committee and he might be a provocative choice to Republicans.

Democrats close to the White House said attention was focusing on….
Related:
Daschle Badly Hurt Obama, Universal Health Care — No Matter the Reason, There’s No Excuse

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/04/
us/politics/04assess.html

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