Obviously, Eomer, you have nothing factual or specific to offer. That is too bad, but Obama is going to ask the American public to give their opinions on the nation's health care system.
Citizens' advice sought on health-care overhaul
Former Sen. Tom Daschle, in his first major speech since being asked to head President-elect Obama's health-care overhaul, has announced a nationwide campaign this month to solicit public input on improving the nation's health-care system.
By Noam N. Levey
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — Former Sen. Tom Daschle, in his first major speech since being asked to head President-elect Obama's health-care overhaul, has announced a nationwide campaign this month to solicit public input on improving the nation's health-care system.
The plan — to ask Americans to host meetings to talk about the overhaul — appears designed to avoid the appearance that the new administration is developing an agenda behind closed doors.
That perception is widely believed to have helped doom the Clinton administration's health-care overhaul efforts in the early '90s, when Hillary Rodham Clinton, as first lady, led a monthslong task force that wrote the administration's legislation.
"We want an open process," Daschle told a health-care forum Friday in Denver.
In Washington, Democratic officials have been meeting privately for weeks to develop legislation that senior lawmakers hope to unveil in early January to reshape the country's health-care system, a longtime goal of the party.
Obama, Daschle and others — including Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts — envision an effort by the federal government to ensure that all Americans get health coverage, to bring down health-care costs and to improve the quality of care.
Friday, Daschle, a former Senate majority leader Obama has asked to be Health and Human Services secretary, said the transition team would send discussion packets to any American willing to host a house party in the last two weeks of December.
He invited Americans to sign up for meetings, one of which he plans to attend, at the transition Web site at http://www.change.gov.
Roughly 10,000 people, many of them involved in grass-roots efforts to push health-care change, have submitted comments on the Web site, Daschle said.
The Obama team's maneuver reinforces the message that Obama has delivered since his election last month that he intends to take aggressive steps to tackle the issue despite the worsening economic situation.
"President-elect Obama has made health reform one of his top priorities," Daschle said. "And I'm here to tell you that his commitment to changing the health-care system remains strong and focused."