Administration Officials’ Key Health Reform Roles
The Hill: "Passing major healthcare reform legislation into law was worth taking a political beating, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Thursday 'As [President Obama] said repeatedly, which is a sign, he was willing to spend, quote, unquote, 'the political capital' to get something done that was materially and politically, policy wise, important for the American people,' Emanuel told CNN in an interview, his first since the law passed, to air Thursday evening. 'And if you asked them, today, even -- or a week ago, pre- the bill, was it worth the political capital spent, he would say, yes'" (Fabian, 3/25).
CNN has video excerpts of the Emanuel interview (3/25)
"One of the most common phrases in the health reform bill is, 'the secretary shall,'" Politico reports, noting that with the health bill's signing, "Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius became vastly more powerful, with huge responsibility - and leeway - as the bill's massive changes are implemented. Sebelius, who was governor of Kansas before joining the Cabinet, tells POLITICO that she is determined to defuse some of the 'misinformation and confusion about what happens and when it happens.' She promises a hands-on approach, 'a sense of urgency and as much say-so for the states as possible.'" She added that "it is likely that hundreds of people will be added to the HHS payroll of nearly 80,000, but the exact number has not been determined" (M. Allen, 3/25).
The Washington Post profiles the president's in-house counsel Bob Bauer. "Bauer came to the rescue of the health-care negotiations, and his political skills were as much on display as his legal ones, not to mention his diplomatic and nurturing ones. Bauer, 58, shuttled between the White House and Capitol Hill with drafts of an executive order banning federal funding of abortion, spending two days in tense talks with Rep. Stupak and other Catholic Democrats who were vital to the coalition that would pass President Obama's reform package. ... Bauer's role in the outcome was, Stupak said, 'extremely critical'" (Kornblut, 3/26).