Obama Makes His Pick For Secretary Of Health & Human Services

Health care was a major focus of the Obama campaign, and the president-elect's transition team is meeting with a number of advocacy groups across the country to share ideas. Obama and vice president-elect Joe Biden have pledged to make a significant investment—$10 billion a year over five years—toward the creation and adoption of standards-based electronic health records (EHRs).

Daschle has said he would like to see more involvement by states in the changes to the national health-care system, Reuters reported. Daschle lost re-election to the Senate in 2004 and afterward became a public policy adviser and a member of lobbying firm Alston & Bird's legislative and public policy group.

While Obama's choice of Daschle for the HHS post has been known for some time, the official appointment means Daschle can begin work on what will be a busy year for the department. At Everything Channel's recent Healthcare IT Summit in San Diego, Dr. Robert M. Kolodner, the national coordinator for health information technology at HHS, said that when we look back at 2008, it will be thought of as the "tipping point year" for health-care IT and described how the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology will continue to counsel HHS on health-care IT infrastructure.

At the time, Kolodner said he had yet to meet with president-elect Obama, but that he was sure the incoming Obama administration's commitment to responsible health-care IT was sound.

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"There isn't much exchange of the thoughts behind that just yet, but we look forward to the day when we can exchange ideas," said Kolodner. "We believe he [Obama] does have commitment and he does understand that to change health care, he needs IT. It's not a magic bullet—you can't just drop it in there. There has to be incentive and the motivation to use it properly."