Daschle still playing part in healthcare reform effort

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Although he failed in his bid to become secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Tom Daschle is by no measure out of the game. The former Senate Majority Leader is still taking an active and important role in the healthcare reform debate.

On Monday, June 8, Daschle will be participating in an online panel discussion on the future of elder care in the U.S. sponsored by the Volunteers of America. The discussion will also feature healthcare luminary and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Daschle has also been holding private meetings with members of Congress to discuss a broad range of healthcare issues. His Bipartisan Policy Center will release his own healthcare reform proposal some time in June, according to a recent USA Today article. While the former HHS secretary candidate may not carry the weight of that office, his reputation on Capitol Hill still commands a great deal of respect, USA Today reported.

Meanwhile on the Hill, the Senate Finance Committee met Wednesday to discuss healthcare reform financing proposals in the third and final policy "walk through" meeting. After the meeting, committee chair Max Baucus (D-MT) told reporters there is a "75, 80 percent" chance of garnering bipartisan support for healthcare reform legislation, which he hopes to have ready for a full Senate vote by the end of July.