It appears Obama is going to make a health-care system overhaul a top priority in his first year.
from the Tribune:
"The time is now to solve this problem," Obama said at a Chicago news conference where he announced that former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle would head his health-care team. "It's not something that we can sort of put off because we're in an emergency. This is part of the emergency."
And as many have pointed out, his selection of Tom Daschle as Secretary of Health and Human Services shows serious intent as well.
This should be quite interesting to watch. As Obama pointed out, the current recession, which can seem an argument not to take on health-care reform, is also a good argument for doing so. People are losing health-care access along with their jobs, and runaway health-care costs are adding extra strain, and more by the year. Probably just as important is Obama's recognition that the first year is the time to get big things done -- and his seemingly sincere conviction that the combination or rising per-capita expenditures and a growing number of un- and underinsured is a deadly serious problem and a blight on the country. Yet to get something done that is both truly reforming -- in the sense of a recognizable reshaping -- may well be the most difficult and ambitious thing he hopes to accomplish.
Except for maybe education reform ... on which more later.