Barack Obama said earlier this year that Tom Daschle’s idea of creating a Federal Health Board (modeled after the Federal Reserve) to manage the nation’s medical system showed “great promise.”
“The American health care system is in crisis, and workable solutions have been blocked for years by deeply entrenched ideological divisions,” Obama wrote in a blurb on the back of Daschle’s book, Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis. “Sen. Daschle brings fresh thinking to this problem, and his Federal Reserve for Health concept holds great promise for bridging this intellectual chasm and, at long last, giving this nation the health care it deserves.”
Now that Daschle is expected to shepard Obama’s health care plan through Congress as Secretary of Health and Human Services this takes on an added importance.
Here’s how Daschle described the idea in his book:
“Like the Federal Reserve, the Federal Health Board would be composed of highly independent experts insulated from politics. Congress and the White House would relinquish some of their health-policy decisions to it. For example, a shift to a more effective drug service would be accomplished without an act of Congress or the White House.”
However benign Daschle tries to make the idea sound, just as, over time, the power of the Federal Reserve grew dramatically beyond its original intentions (ironically, the more it messed up, the more power it got) its easy to see the Federal Health Board morph into an all-powerful entity dictating every aspect of health policy over time, with limited oversight, as America marches toward a socialized system. This is a scary thought, and it’s at the heart of Daschle’s health-care policy vision, which President-elect Obama is sympathetic to.