Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle will pull double duty in the Obama administration, where he will serve not only as the Health and Human Services secretary but also oversee a new White House Office of Health Reform.
A Democratic official familiar with the plans said the additional appointment makes it clear that Daschle will coordinate efforts within the administration to overhaul the nation's health care system.
"He will be the White House's voice on this critical issue," said the official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the development.
Jeanne Lambrew, who helped Daschle write a book about health care reform, will serve as deputy director of the new White House office. She also worked on health policy at the White House during the Clinton administration and currently serves as a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.
After losing re-election to the Senate in 2004, Daschle, D-SD, became a public policy adviser and member of the legislative and public policy group at the law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird. Daschle is not a registered lobbyist. He advised clients on issues including health care, financial services and taxes and trade, according to the firm's website.
President-elect Obama's choice of Daschle to head HHS has been known for some time.
Obama has chosen much of his Cabinet and top White House staff. He has only a few key posts left to fill: national intelligence director, the secretaries of housing, labor, education, transportation and agriculture and the U.S. trade representative.
News release provided by USA Today. Visit www.USAtoday.com for more headlines.