“I’m just deeply disappointed that once again we may have to settle for the lesser of two evils. “Posted: February 19, 2009
With Former Sen. Tom Daschle out of the running for Health and Human Services Department because of painfully obvious tax issues the ball seems to be dropping towards Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for the post. A senior administration official leaked that information and of course the press has been covering it.
We know that Obama hasn’t had an easy first month. The confirmations haven’t gone as particularly smooth in many instances and the ‘loyal’ opposition is anything but. I must completely disagree with the administrations interest in pursuing Gov. Sebelius for this position. In the instance of Tom Daschle, he was a consultant for the healthcare industry after he left the senate. Though he would have brought a world of knowledge to HHS and health policy, I feel he was just too close to the industry and am relieved he was withdrew his nomination. With regards to Gov. Sebelius she was an insurance commissioner before becoming Gov. Is this change we can believe in? I find it to be settling for the lesser of two evils. I am in no way attacking Gov. Sebelius ability as a Governor. In fact she is amazing and has been steering conservative Kansas through this budget crisis. Her place is not in executing and formulating healthcare policy.
What I find reprehensible is the complete shut out of Gov. Howard Dean, MD (yes he has a Medical Degree!). For all I know he may have some legitimate reasons for not wanting and has been vetted, but from the sources I’ve talked with have said, he has been absent from consideration. This could be because of the friction between Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Dean.
“Medicine is and should always be science based – not driven by ideology.” – Gov. Dean
Under Gov. Dean’s watch in Vermont, he helped strengthen the Dr. Dynasaur program which ensures near-universal health coverage for children and pregnant women in the state.Vermont has been ranked as having one of the best healthcare systems in the nation. It can be done and he’s the person that has the experience to do it.
It alarms me that there is no need for the HHS Secretary to have any advanced degrees or scientific/medical background. We expect the Attorney General to have at least some legal background. The National Institute of Health, CDC, Medicare/Medicaid, and FDA all fall under this agency. More than ever we need someone that has no ties to the insurance or medical industry to help steer these agencies into the 21st century. The FDA is alarmingly behind and underfunded as well as having too close of ties to the Drug companies. I don’t feel we need an HHS Secretary who has contacts or ties with that industry. It is pitiful that the one Democrat who laid the foundation for the 2008 election that led to President Obama’s victory AND who insisted on the 50-state strategy that led to Democratic control of the House and Senate (which Rahm Emmanuel disagreed with) is being overlooked for this position. Gov. Dean’s one issue has always been health-care reform.
In an interview with the AP, Dean was asked about not being selected for a position in the Obama administration, Dean responded,
“Obviously, it would have been great, but it’s not happening and the president has the right to name his own Cabinet, so I’m not going to work in the government it looks like.” When asked how he felt about not being selected, Dean replied he would “punt on that one.”
However, Dean did state on Hardball that,
“I didn’t do this for the spoils. I did this for the country. I’m very happy that Barack Obama is president, and I think he’s picked a great Cabinet. And I’m pretty happy. I wouldn’t trade my position for any other position right now. I’m going to go into the private sector, make a living making speeches, and do a lot of stuff on health care policy.”
I still hope President Obama considers him, because this just seems like a lot of squandered potential to get good sound healthcare policy done for this country. In a situation like this, I am going to have an honest disagreement with the President. This is a very personal issue and I wish he would bring about the real change he promised.
Till next time…