Four Minutes with Tom Daschle on America’s Health Care Crisis


Some think former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle may be a dark horse to be Barack Obama’s vice presidential running mate. Most of the rest of the DC chattering class thinks that Daschle will be Obama’s White House chief of staff. Both fine jobs.
What he should do though is agree to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services and be given the authority and cabinet and policy preeminence to achieve fundamental health care reform.
I chaired an event with Tom Daschle and Obama economic adviser and entertainment media CEO Leo Hindery on Wednesday on the costs to American competitiveness from out of control health care cost increases. You can watch the entire program here — but above I did a four minute clip with Senator Daschle in which he punctuates the importance of this policy challenge.
— Steve Clemons


4 comments on “Four Minutes with Tom Daschle on America’s Health Care Crisis

  1. Kathleen says:

    Tom Daschle is right.
    We need a national health plan now. We need to do away with health insurance. People need to know how the present method of providing health care is far more costly than it looks on the surface.
    Here is a short list of how a universal, single payer national health care plan would benefit us on many levels:
    First: Healthier, less stressed, more financially secure people
    Second: National safety and security (Just think about the effect of a health epidemic in a population where 47 million people do not have access to health care.)
    Third: Business savings –
    1) A level playing field in the global economy where US business costs do not include health care costs that Daschle predicts will double to about $16K per capita in ten years; Four years ago, the amount health costs tacked onto an US automobile price tag was about $1500. (Business is hamstrung by a silly, expensive impediment to economic competitiveness when workers are better served by a transparent, high quality national health care system.)
    2) Eliminating the cost of health care to workers and retirees; All residents would be guaranteed excellent health care, as long as the legislation is good and funded properly, unlike Canada.
    3) Greater worker satisfaction when this “benefit” is actually a guaranteed right; More time will be spent accomplishing the goals of the organization.
    4) Healthier workers and workers’ families who nip illness in the bud, resulting in fewer absences;
    5) More capital available for research and development as well as for expanding the business;
    6) Less moral hazard of moving industries to countries where CEOs know their products are produced by mistreated workers;
    Fourth: Workers benefits –
    1) No more negotiations for health care when it is a guaranteed right;
    2) Ability to change jobs without fear of losing health care benefits or even being prevented from joining a new health care provider’s group plan;
    3) Better health, less stress, and fewer lost wages caring for oneself and one’s family.
    4) No more hours wasted analyzing health benefit policies which make us gamble which kind of coverage we might need in the future;
    5) No more hours wasted arguing with insurance companies to receive the benefits we were promised and they denied;
    6) More job security when workers are not laid off to meet both payroll can afford to pay the increasingly demanding Insurance Piper who is accustomed to calling the tune;
    7) More health care jobs to provide care for the 47 million who are currently underserved;
    Fifth: Taxpayers’ Benefits –
    1) Enormous savings when we are no longer paying for a inefficient, high-profit health insurance scheme in which we pay over and again through:
    a) our premiums
    b) our co-pays
    c) our out of pocket and deductible costs
    d) our automobile insurance
    e) our local taxes for municipal employees and for health care services such as ambulance and community health services
    f) ditto from state and federal taxes which includes enormous costs such as our share of federal emergency services to disaster victims who lose their homes, their jobs, and their financial security all in one swoop.
    g) higher consumer goods prices passed along by businesses trying to cover their health care expenses;
    h) higher costs for our health care services because other groups negotiate better sweetheart deals with insurance companies;
    i) charity donations for those who should be receiving health care as a human right in the richest country on earth;
    j) personal cost of health care problems of our loved ones and friends; How do Americans daily lose economically and spiritually as we negotiate services for our elderly, for our spouses with Alzheimer’s, or for our children with cancer? What is the cost of a bankruptcy to the family fabric torn by a health care disaster?
    The time has come to recognize that we are being held up by the insurance/pharmaceutical health biz. AIG executives went to their luxury spa retreat with more than our tax bailout money in their pockets; 30% of our health insurance premiums are in their bank accounts. These are the sharks who scream “Socialized medicine!” and “Canadians hate their system!” and “You won’t be able to choose your doctor!” and “Be afraid!”
    Don’t forget that President Bush walks away with a taxpayer-supplied, gold-plated health insurance policy for the rest of his life despite his claim that, “Americans don’t want the government in their health care.” Yes we do! The government is supposed to be working for us! Bush’s health biz campaign contributors have gained enough in the past eight years. Enough.
    Imagine the bright morning we give up being a nation of dupes for this swindle. We will decide to work together for the greater good of the entire country instead of for greedy profiteers. The greater good ensures more money in our pockets, more productivity on the job, more time with our families, and more pride in our society.


  2. OK says:

    Impressive Steve. Your familiarity with all of these people is
    intimidating and important.


  3. liz says:

    Whoa, We don’t necessarily need a Universal payor system. That’s was the first thing I heard. Who cares who pays… what people care about is GETTING healthcare when they need it.
    Remember, before insurance, everyone did have access to docs. The docs were paid with fruits and veggies sometimes. Car work others. Money most often. Care was good. It was unregulated. Now we have “evidence based medicine” that doesn’t have much evidence behind it that it does work.
    Lobby people and elected people do not know how to fix a system they dont work in. We the people aren’t trying to fix the Congress. Let the professionals duke this one out because every American’s life is at stake.
    Just remember, you can tell em you still feel bad, and using evidence based ( insurance based) medicine, no one cares, no one will go out on a limb to treat you and you suffer.
    Doctors are now using cookbook guidelines to treat people’s illnesses. Why not do away with insurance, publish the guidelines and make the meds available at the corner drug store….
    what is truly the difference?>
    INSURANCE. that’s the only difference.


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