Daschle gets official nod for HHS appointment

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President-elect Barack Obama at a press conference Thursday formally announced former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle as his pick for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

He would also be director of a new White House Office of Health Reform, the president-elect said at his press conference in Chicago Thursday morning. As such, he would work to expand coverage and rein in health costs. According to health officials in his home state of South Dakota, Daschle as a senator and representative has a long and storied record on healthcare, with specific interest in long-term care (McKnight's, 11/20).

Both major long-term care associations, the American Health Care Association and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, applauded the appointment on Thursday. The Obama transition team first mentioned the Daschle nomination on November 19.

"There are many critically pressing issues in healthcare ... and Senator Daschle is well-prepared to take on these issues," said Bruce Yarwood, president and CEO of AHCA.