- Strong quake hits Japan, triggering tsunami
- Sniper heaven: Pentagon’s self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Violent gang taking advantage of immigration crisis, using border as recruiting hub
- Medicaid enrollment continues to soar under Obamacare, administration says
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: ‘We cannot afford to wait on Congress’ for immigration
- White House urges GOP to act ‘urgently’ on $3.7 billion request for illegal immigrants
- Politicians, criminals using ‘right-to-be-forgotten’ law EU courts forced upon Google
- Combat fatigue: elite special forces troops are ‘fraying,’ Gen. Joseph Votel warns
- German foreign minister to meet Kerry to discuss spying claims
- Florida police spokesman tells citizens: ‘Get yourself some firearms’
Daschle faces easy time before hearing
Question of the Day
Health and Human Services Secretary designate Tom Daschle faced a warm reception Thursday before a Senate panel gathered to vet his nomination, paving the way for his expected confirmation to head President-elect Barack Obama's health care reform strategy.
"Tom Daschle understands the urgency and the challenge of health reform," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee. "Reform is urgently needed and Tom Daschle is just the person for the job."
Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said Mr. Daschle "will make great secretary of Health and Human Services, and I intend to support you when you're there as well."
Mr. Daschle's appearance before the committee was the first of a bevy of confirmation hearings to take place on Capitol Hill during the next few weeks for Mr. Obama's cabinet and other nominees.
Mr. Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat and former Senate majority leader, told the panel that the "flaws in our health care system are pervasive and corrosive" and "threaten our health and economic security."
He added that the nation's health care strategy has failed to adequately stress preventative care, and vowed to "change the paradigm in this country on health care" if his nomination is approved.
"Coverage after you get sick should be a second line of defense," he said. "Today, it's often the first line of defense."
Mr. Daschle, an early supporter of Mr. Obama's presidential bid, is a strong proponent of the president-elect's health care reform plan that includes some form of universal health care coverage -- a position opposed by most Republicans.
But Mr. Daschle faced little resistance from Republican members of the committee.
"I want to work with you (Mr. Daschle) and President-elect Obama to help every American get high quality, affordable health insurance," said Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming, the health committee's ranking Republican. "We can work together to make a positive difference in Americans' lives.
But Mr. Enzi did warn against expanding insurance coverage through more government bureaucracies, such as Medicaid.
"Forcing private plans to compete with a public program like Medicaid, with its price controls and ability to shift costs to private payers, will inevitably doom true competition," he said. "Any new insurance coverage must be delivered through private health insurance plans."
About the Author
Sean Lengell covers Congress and national politics and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- GOP tests Democrats on college loan issue
- Lawmakers outside intelligence loop get miffed about briefing structure in Congress
- John Boehner: Time is right to bring latest farm bill to House floor
- Supreme Court nears rulings on key voting rights cases
- N.J. Gov. Christie picks state A.G. to fill U.S. Senate seat
Latest Blog Entries
Democrats reveal an identity crisis by pretending to be what they're not
- Pentagon's self-guided bullets leave enemies nowhere to hide
- Michelle Obama to Latinos: 'We cannot afford to wait on Congress' for immigration
- Armed militia sets up Texas command center to 'fight for national sovereignty'
- Hamas orders civilians to die in Israeli airstrikes
- Obama seeks brisk passage of border children funding bill
- Va. Democrat reportedly seeks nude shots of Kendall Jones
- Bloomberg: Pro-gun towns must lack roads
- Israel rejects talk of cease-fire; Hamas targets suspected nuke site
- Florida police spokesman tells citizens: 'Get yourself some firearms'
- Amid border crisis, Obama to take 15-day vacation in Martha's Vineyard
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq
World Cup's sexiest WAGs