Tom Daschle explained his withdrawal from twin posts as the point person on ObamaCare and secretary of Health and Human Services by stating he did not want to damage the President’s universal health care overhaul.
Of course Daschle should have been more careful and concurrently paid the more than $100,000 he owed in taxes for the use of a car and driver. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner should also have known that he owed the IRS $34,000 in back taxes when he worked for the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2004. The question is why is Geithner, who now oversees the IRS, confirmed as Treasury Secretary and Daschle out as ObamaCare cheifain?
Wall Street and K-street don’t have a problem with Geithner. Daschle, on the other hand has worried a lot of drug company, HMO and medical establishment lobbyists with his book, “Critical”, that calls for a public health care program to compete with the private market. I recently opined on the need for such a Medicare expansion in an LA Times oped. Daschle’s also talked tough about the waste among private health insurers, the profiteering of drug companies and the need for curbing excessive end of life care under Medicare that fails to improve the quality of life, but costs taxpayers a fortune. The medical-insurance complex had to be worried about Daschle’s power.
Geither was said to be irreplaceable, so he was confirmed. Daschle isn’t irreplaceable for health care reformers, but Obama would make a big mistake in appointing a replacement with any lessor convictions on the topic of a public health care option and curbing the medical-insurance establishment’s waste and greed. Obama should send a signal to K-street, who no doubt had a hand in Daschle’s demise, by appointing an even stronger voice for patients to the post.