Daschle Promises ‘Meaningful Health Reform’ ‘In The Not Too Distant Future’

daschlespeech.jpgSpeaking at a forum in Denver yesterday, incoming Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Daschle stressed the importance of moving quickly on health care reform. “The economy is going to be directly related to our capacity and our ability to reform the healthcare system in the months ahead,” Daschle explained.

After identifying the problems plaguing the system — rising costs, poor access to care, billions of dollars in unnecessary spending, lack of transparency — Daschle identified “the status quo” as “the most costly option of all” and promised to begin a “successful process” that “will ultimately bring us to a conclusive and successful effort in the not too distant future to bring meaningful health reform to people all over this country“:

And I believe that in a sense it’s really like our federal aviation system. Our job in government is to get everybody from here to there safely. You can fly coach, business or first class, but we want to make sure however you fly you get there safely. The same can be said for healthcare.

Echoing President elect Barack Obama’s campaign health care plan, Daschle envisioned a private-public partnership that lowers costs, guarantees access to affordable care, improves quality, “shift it away from sickness and on to wellness,” and invests in health infrastructure. “If you like what you have, you ought to be able to keep it. But if not we ought to pool the resources of those who aren’t in a system they like and offer them the same plan of options that members of congress have,” Daschle explained.

The former senator underscored the incoming administration’s grassroots approach to health care reform, promising to “reach out in as many ways as we possibly can…with full transparency.”

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