doctor.jpgAnyone who doubted whether Barack Obama would keep health care reform front and center on his legislative agenda due to his understandable preoccupation with our broader economic crisis was likely proven wrong today, as the president-elect introduced the former Senate majority leader, Tom Daschle, not only as his secretary of health and human services, but also as director of a new White House Office of Health Reform, where he will be the lead architect in crafting ways to expand coverage and control costs.

Details remain sketchy, especially about how Mr. Obama will finance an expansion of health care coverage for those 45-to-50 million now uninsured. In response to a reporter’s question, he emphasized the need to cut costs first–for example, by allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies for better prescription prices, as well as eliminating subsidies for Medicare HMOs, and bringing the paper-intensive medical industry into the computer age.

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