White House may scrap Health Czars postFebruary 21st, 2009 - 6:57 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Feb. 21 (ANI): The White House may abandon plans to create the Office of Health Reform, a White House official has said.
President Barack Obama chose former Senator Tom Daschle as the first director of the office and his Secretary of Health and Human Services. With a double-barreled position, Daschle was expected to take Obamas health reform agenda forward.
Since tax problems forced Daschle to opt-out before he could take up his new position, observers wonder whether the Obama administration would keep an office that was custom-tailored for Daschle, or scrap it.
A White House source told Politico that decisions regarding the Office of Health Reform were pending, but were likely to come up after Obama names his new Health Secretary.
The leading contender for the post is Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius, but Obama is still casting about for other options.
Sources claimed that the White House reached out to Nancy-Ann DeParle on Thursday to consider serving both as health czar and the Health Secretary. She was administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration under the Clinton regime.
A no-nonsense businesswoman and lawyer, DeParle brings a wealth of experience to healthcare. She served as Tennessee commissioner of human services in the late 1980s and spent the 1990s in the Clinton administration as a health care adviser at HHS, the White House Office of Management and Budget and the Health Care Financing Administration.
Currently, she is managing director of CCMP Capital, a private equity firm in New York, and a board member of Medco Health Solutions and Boston Scientific.
If the White House is looking for someone with experience in government, policy and business, DeParle would fit the description, but her affiliations present potential conflicts when the Obama administration cannot afford to see another nominee run into confirmation problems, a source claimed.
However, the question over Health Reform Office being in flux is indicated by the fact that deputy director Jeanne Lambrew has moved to HHS to work in an ad-hoc role helping to implement the health care provisions of the 787 billion dollars economic stimulus package. (ANI)
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