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Suggested Questions for Tom Daschle

By Ed O'Keefe
Tom Daschle
The former Senate majority leader faces questions from former colleagues today.

Lawmakers get their first chance to question a Barack Obama appointee today as Secretary of Health and Human Services-designate Tom Daschle takes questions from the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. (The Senate Finance Committee will get to weigh in on Daschle's confirmation.)

Many of today's questions will likely focus on the proposed creation of a national health care system, but a few weeks ago the Government Accountability Office released a report with suggested questions for each of Obama's top picks that focus on managerial and procedural issues.

As the confirmation hearing process continues, The Eye will post some of the GAO's suggested questions for each cabinet secretary or top government appointee here in the blog. Your suggested questions should go in the comment section below.

Tom Daschle

GAO cited several areas of concern at HHS worthy of conversation, mostly about Medicare, Medicaid and overseeing the safety of the nation's patients, medical products and food. Here are some of the suggested questions (read all of them here):

• What unique knowledge, skills, and abilities would you bring to the department that would help you identify, negotiate, and implement measures to assure Medicare‚Äôs fiscal sustainability?

• Given the size and growth of Medicaid as well as the diversity in funding and coverage levels across states, reforming how the Medicaid program is financed is going to be quite complex. Can you describe what has prepared you to help lead a reexamination of how Medicaid is financed?

• What skills, knowledge, and abilities would you bring to the department to improve patient safety and care quality?

• FDA faces a great challenge in overseeing an enormous volume of promotional materials submitted by drug companies. Do you have any experiences that might illustrate your readiness to help FDA ensure that this growing volume of promotional material is not false or misleading?

• If you were to assume a position in the department, what would you do to encourage greater interest in joining the public health workforce?

• While many American children and families thrive, others live in poverty, increasing their risks for adverse outcomes, such as low educational attainment, poor health, and criminal activity. Would you discuss how your experience could be brought to bear in the department to ensure the effective and efficient operation of its programs to promote child well-being and economic independence for families?

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 8, 2009; 11:36 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Confirmation Hearings, Congress  
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As an American senior citizen residing in Canada, one who has had EXTENSIVE surgical procedures here, I would strongly suggest that the appropriate U.S. Govt. person find out why everything medically has worked out so very well for me here. I do not have any debt due to medical services rec'd here, and have gone from a month in intensive care to 110% healthy in less than 2 yrs.

Posted by: cilcsster | January 8, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Well cilcsster, the answer is simple, 'cos by going into deep debt, American stimulate the economy, so the government has the incentive to not change a damn thing, and have people go broke paying for health care.

Posted by: vmrg1974 | January 8, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

The issue is not Daschle, his skills, experience or lack thereof.
The issue is how to make Americans healthier and less dependent upon an over-priced disease care system.
The "stakeholders" are those who pay off the politicians so they can get paid some of the insurance money. The public is not considered a "stakeholder." Doctors loathe the word prevention, but it is the only way to avoid complete insolvency. Medicare is $62 trillion over-subscribed and Daschle offers to expand insurance coverage which will increase demand. There aren't even enough primary care doctors to handle increased patient loads. Government is making things worse. The public needs to avoid the trappings of modern medicine. Conduct studies to find out how 80-year olds are medication free, not how this drug or that will work better. America is collapsing as a country because it is focused on answering the wrong questions.

Posted by: billsardi | January 8, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that we pay four times as much as other Industrialized countries for health care? Why is it that one sixth of our population doesn't have any health insurance at all and two thirds of our population has inadequate health insurance? Specialists, Drug Companies, Insurers,etc... are getting filthy rich at the expense of average Americans. Our health care system has also created an excessive burden on businesses that are trying to compete for skilled workers, where health care benefits have become a big part of the draw. Is health care a human right in this country or just a priviledge for the wealthy? FDR's dream of a National Health Care System similar to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid is long overdue. Tell your Congress Person to support HR(676) The National Health Care Act and stop wasting the tax payers money. Americans will save forty percent of existing cost on Administration alone. Our health care benefits come out of our paychecks as it is. So what is the big deal? None of the arguments about cost that Neo-Cons are making holds up. We need not be railroaded any longer. If we pass "The National Health Care Act" most of GM's Health Care benefits cost would be marginalized. The health care cost for many other companies would be marginalized as well. We need to all get on board with HR(676) before illness or injury bankrupt more people that could be making a difference in todays economy.

Posted by: Fascistfighter | January 9, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

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