Daschle Warns Opponents Can Still Damage Health Law And Stirs Controversy On Public Option
Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has written a book about the struggle to overhaul the health system. But while promoting this book, some of Daschle's comments about White House strategy on the public option have stirred a controversy.
Politico: "Foes of the health care law 'can still do real damage to the cause of reform,' Tom Daschle warns in a book due out next week. Daschle, the former Senate majority leader, warns that opponents didn't stop fighting the law after President Barack Obama signed it in March. He says that other controversial measures, such as Medicare, didn't have as many threats as reform does. State legislatures could revolt and not implement it; Congress could deny it funding; and the public could 'simply give up on it.' 'We cannot allow this to happen,' Daschle writes in the book due out Oct. 12" (Haberkorn, 10/6).
The Atlantic: "Liberal senators and congressmen fought for the public option's inclusion in health care reform almost until the very end of the legislative process, adding signatures to a letter backing it in the weeks before the bill passed. But former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, in an interview with ThinkProgress's Igor Volsky, seems to suggest that the public option was understood to be out of the picture much earlier" (Good, 10/5).
TPM: "Daschle acknowledged that the public option didn't survive the health care debate because of a 'understanding' that the White House reached with health care industry stakeholders -- particularly with hospital and insurance company trade associations. But the White House has long denied this suggestion -- which was, until now, based mostly on speculation -- and within hours of the report's initial publication, Daschle, a close White House ally, retracted his statement entirely." In an e-mail, Daschle "walked back the entire claim. 'In describing some of the challenges to passage of the public option in the health reform bill, I did not mean to suggest in any way that the President was not committed to it,' Daschle emails. 'The President fought for the public option just as he did for affordable health care for all Americans. The public option was dropped only when it was no longer viable in Congress, not as a result of any deal cut by the White House'" (Beutler, 10/5).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.