Today, President-Elect Barack Obama formally nominated former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to be Secretary of Health and Human Services and Director of the new White House Office of Health Reform, with Dr. Jeanne Lambrew.as his deputy.
In his announcement, Obama made this major declaration:
The time has come this year. in this new administration, to modernize our health care system for the 21st century, to reduce costs for families and businesses, and to finally provide affordable, accessible health care for every single American.
In other words, he’s planning to enact health care for all in 2009.
Not delaying it for later. Not going to be satisfied with incremental changes in his term and wait until a second term to take on a big fight. Now.
That’s pretty big news.
But the first three (out of a total of four) questions Obama received from reporters were about the Blagojevich scandal. The fourth was simply how Obama would pay for health care reform. Nothing about what Obama and Daschle envision for legislation.
And of course, cable news all day long largely ignored the major news made today, and harped on the minor news Obama made about the scandal: he wants the Governor to resign and he directed his staff to release details of all contacts with the governor’s office.
Granted, the Blagojevich scandal is major news too, but it’s patently clear Obama had nothing to do with it. Why let it suffocate the news from Obama’s press conference that will have a far greater impact on most Americans?