Friday, January 9, 2009

Secretary Daschle First Steps

Senator Tom Daschle formally launched into his new role (to be confirmed but seems likely) as the Secretary of Health and Human Services yesterday at the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions - presided over by Senator Edward Kennedy.

His passion was clear and he was articulate and knowledgeable talking of personal stories of bankruptcy and lack of insurance coverage that he had witnessed. You have to like his agility in dealing with his colleagues from both sides of the floor and certainly his rhetoric resonated with me.

The problems are large and the challenges great but facing up to the issue of uninsured, catastrophic health bankruptcy (covered here in the US vs UK nightmare experience) is a great place to start. He referred back to the health care reform from 1994 which I personally remember well as an observer from the other side of the pond when many thought the two systems from the UK and the US were moving towards each other but unlikely to meet in the middle. The prevailing view then was the US system was moving to a UK style model and the UK was moving towards a pay for service US style..... neither materialized.

On first blush there is much to commend and like about his style, understanding and intent. The system is broken - I think most would agree on that and needs fixing. The process must include all the stake holders involved but requires government involvement with great leadership.

As a note on a colleagues board says - "if you think you are leading and no one is following you then you are just taking a walk".... I'm following for now and watch this with renewed optimism

No comments: