Will Obama Pull the Plug on His Own Health Czar Position?

The Obama administration may be about to pull the plug on the health czar. The position has gone unfilled since Obama’s appointee-apparent, former Sen. Tom Daschle, withdrew his name from consideration for both czar and Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) in early February. Several serious candidates are emerging in the unofficial race to lead HHS, but there’s no corresponding shortlist for health czar.

The czar and his Office of Health Reform were initially touted as proof that Obama was really serious about shepherding a health reform package through Congress. But the Obama team may ultimately decide that the Office of Health Reform is an obstacle instead of an asset without Daschle and ditch it altogether.

As Erza Klein explains in the American Prospect, the position was created especially for Daschle and any other candidate might be worse than nothing as far as passing a healthcare reform package goes. Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly agrees, and says that nixing the health czar doesn’t necessarily indicate that the Obama administration is any less committed to healthcare reform.


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