“Today I’m pleased to announce two leading members of my health care team whose work will be critical to those efforts, Senator Tom Daschle and Dr. Jeanne Lambrew,” said Mr. Obama in a press conference posted on washingtonpost.com.
Continuing, Mr. Obama said, “I’ve asked Tom to serve not just as my secretary of health and human services but also as my director of White House — of my White House office of health reform. As such, he will be responsible not just for implementing our healthcare plan, he will also be the lead architect of that plan. Jeanne will serve as deputy director of this office working closing with Tom on these efforts.”
Commenting on America’s healthcare, Mr. Obama said, “it’s hard to overstate the urgency of this work. Over the past eight years, premiums have nearly doubled and more families are facing more medical debt than ever before. Forty-five million fellow citizens have no health insurance at all. And day after day, we witness the disgrace of parents unable to take a sick child to the doctor, seniors unable to afford their medicines, people who wind up in emergency rooms because they have nowhere else to turn.”
In following up to Mr. Obama’s introduction, Mr. Daschle, who was elected to the Senate in 1986 before serving as Majority Leader said, “whether it’s administering Medicare and Medicaid, keeping our food and pharmaceuticals safe, researching the cures of tomorrow, or investing in prevention and wellness, a well-functioning Department of Health and Human Services can play a strong role in tackling the many health care challenges our country faces.”
Having been asked by Mr. Obama to serve two roles in his Administration, Mr. Daschle said, “As director of the White House Office of Health Reform, I’m eager to work closely with the people from across the country to find a path forward that makes health care in this country as affordable and available as it is innovative.”