Bush Taps Jindal for HHS Assistant Secretary Slot
President Bush announced on March 7 his intention to nominate Bobby Jindal, the president of the University of Louisiana system, as HHS assistant secretary for planning and evaluation. In this position, Jindal would be responsible for developing "major reform initiatives," such as Medicare modernization, according to an HHS release. Calling the assistant secretary position the "leading policy development office at HHS," department Secretary Tommy Thompson said, "Bobby brings a blend of policy and administrative experience in major health care structures. He is widely recognized as someone who can see the big picture, formulate workable approaches, and get the job done. In particular, he can help us move quickly in a bipartisan push to bring the Medicare program into the 21st century" (HHS release, 3/7). Jindal, who is 29 years old, formerly served as secretary of the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals and as executive director of a 1998-99 "federal advisory commission that recommended radical changes in Medicare." Several members of Congress also recommended Jindal for the HCFA administrator post, which is expected to go instead to Federation of American Hospitals President Thomas Scully (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 3/5).
And for FDA Head ...
In other administration news, Duke University cardiologist Dr. Robert Califf confirmed yesterday that he is in the running for the FDA commissioner post, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. Califf, "well-known" in the clinical research field, said that he was interviewed for the job last week in Washington, D.C. Califf has sat on "at least two FDA advisory boards" and has "collaborated with" the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, the News & Observer reports. He said, "This came as a little bit of a surprise. Being a political person in Washington has never been a goal of mine. I'd only consider it if the conditions were right." He added that the job would interest him if it emphasized "creating better ways to assess the safety and effectiveness of medical treatments." The Bush administration also is considering an FDA oncology division director and a Georgetown University faculty member for the position, the News & Observer reports, citing the F-D-C Reports' Blue Sheet newsletter (Clabby, Raleigh News & Observer, 3/8).