Opinion: Tom Daschle invokes Ted Kennedy in road map to healthcare reform


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As President Obama prepares to address Congress and the nation on healthcare, Tom Daschle, his mentor and first choice for health czar, weighs in with what could be a road map to the Obama game plan.

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Daschle invokes Ted Kennedy’s fighting spirit and tells Democrats they should not be afraid to act even if they cannot get a bipartisan plan.


“Should Republican intransigence continue, Democrats cannot simply stop,” Daschle writes, adding later: “The choice between complete legislative failure and majority rule should not pose a dilemma for any Democratic senator.”

Daschle was supposed to lead the Obama healthcare reform effort until an income tax problem derailed his nomination to become head of the Department of Health and Human Services. Still, even as a lobbyist, he remains close to Obama and recently met with the president to discuss healthcare reform.

His article gives the outline of what Obama could say next week when he speaks to Congress and more importantly to a country that polls show is increasingly worried about healthcare reform options. The former Senate majority leader argues that healthcare reform is financially necessary; Democrats (and Obama) need a political victory and should not fear using Senate reconciliation to get it.

But Daschle seems to imply that a less robust version of the public option would be acceptable, a position that will likely make liberals uncomfortable. Daschle mentions creating healthcare exchanges, a plan Obama has cited among other alternatives. Here’s a checklist of Obama’s positions.

Stay tuned.

-- Michael Muskal