President-elect Barack Obama has gone ahead with previously announced efforts to nominate former Sen. Thomas Daschle to be secretary of Health and Human Services.
Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat who served as Senate majority leader, is “known for speaking softly but acting boldly,” Obama said today at a press conference announcing the nomination. “He knows how to build consensus across the aisle. And he has the trust of folks from every angle of this issue: doctors, nurses and patients; workers and businesses; hospitals and consumer groups–all of whom will have a seat at the table as we work on this vital issue.”
In addition to leading the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Daschle is set to become director of a new White House Office on Health Reform, officials say.
America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington, has welcomed news of Daschle’s HHS nomination.
The nomination “signals that the incoming administration intends to prioritize comprehensive health care reform,” AHIP President Karen Ignagni says in a statement. “Senator Daschle is exceptionally well qualified to bring people together in support of universal coverage, cost-containment, and improved quality.”