Observations Yankee Doodling

The taxing case of Tom Daschle

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b565 (Published 11 February 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b565
  1. Douglas Kamerow, chief scientist, RTI International, and associate editor, BMJ
  1. dkamerow{at}rti.org

    A lesson for the new president, perhaps with wide ranging consequences

    The former US senator Tom Daschle seemed like the perfect candidate to lead President Obama’s effort for healthcare reform and to serve as his health and human services secretary. As a former Senate majority leader, Daschle knew both the players and the processes necessary to get legislation through Congress. He coauthored a book on healthcare reform and was passionately interested in the topic. And as one of Obama’s earliest supporters and advisers, he was likely to have the president’s confidence and attention. Daschle had led the Obama health transition team since the election; conducted numerous discussion sessions with citizens and experts on healthcare reform during the interregnum; and was awaiting Senate confirmation.

    Yet, in a stunning reversal of fortune, this consummate insider felt it necessary to withdraw his name from consideration just days before he was likely to be confirmed by the Senate and sworn in. What happened and what does it mean for healthcare reform in particular and the president’s …

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