Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dasche Withdraws - The Past Haunts

Tom Daschle, the "almost" head of Obama's Health and Human Services, has suddenly pulled his nomination due to investigation into his failure to pay $140,000 in income tax when it was due. (he has since made payment). Although Pres. Obama continued supporting him, Daschle gave the usual explanation of "not wanting to be a distraction etc etc."

With the support that Tom Daschle had as new head of the HHS, this resignation, along with the two others from Obama's cabinet, heralds a new day in Washington. I'm not sure it is the delinquent taxes so much as the facts that are being disclosed about the insider shenanigans in Washington and just how much $$$MONEY$$$ these "public servant" politicians can make after they leave office.

Poor Daschle (who would have been a good HHS chief) is feeling the effects of the light being shined on the last 4 years. He was on the payroll for a large law firm that represented Indian gaming, health care, support for ethanol and a number of other corporate interests that had business on the Hill. He also was a consultant and sold policy advice to many companies that had legislation pending in congress. He served as a director for Mayo Clinic and the clinic was able to forestall a $2.5 billion government loan that would have put a rail line next to the clinic in Rochester.

He was even paid for policy advise for United Healthcare,(One of the most egregious insurers we doctors universally dislike), who had multiple issues pending before the Department of Health and Human Services and who makes 20 billion from federal health programs alone.

Obama has a mandate from the American people to clean up Washington. Limos, corporate jets, million dollar consulting fees and retainers for insider access into policy matters has got to stop. I know it is not illegal but that doesn't mean it is right.

Just because "everyone does it" does not mean it should go on and finding cabinet members who fly above the radar, have personal ethics and don't use their position for influence and personal gain may be hard to fine.

Daschle would have been a good HHS chief because he understands health care reform and he does know how politics works. I wish he would have kept his nose clean. Also he wears cool glasses.


Spenceanna said...

From one wildcat to another, how is it going? I'm a second year and am loving Tucson. I think your blog is great also. Last week a pathologist lectured and recommended Daschle's latest work: Critical. I asked for it on interlibrary loan and ironically it arrived yesterday, the day he withdrew his nomination. Health Care Reform is full of ironies. I'm still going to read the book though :)

ERP said...

Why can't these guys keep their noses clean!?!?!?!

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