American Association for Cancer Research



                                                                                                       FEBRUARY 2009



Search for Health and Human Services Secretary begins again

Former Senator Tom Daschle stepped down as the nominee for Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) early last week, creating new uncertainties about the nation's health care agenda.

Daschle, who had been considered one of President Obama's easiest appointments because of his unique qualification as a well-liked former Senate leader with a thorough grasp of health care policy, withdrew his name from consideration after it was discovered that he had made significant errors on his federal taxes. The revelation became the subject of intense public scrutiny and a dark cloud over his nomination.

Daschle's departure may have an impact on the momentum for health care reform that President Obama had built during his campaign. It will also delay nominations for other key positions directly affecting cancer research, including the FDA Commissioner, and directors of the NIH and NCI.

Speculation is already underway as to who Daschle's replacement will be. Some frequently mentioned names in the media include governors such as Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS) and Ed Rendell (D-PA), former Governor Howard Dean (D-VT) and U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).

Daschle had also been tapped to serve as the White House health czar, leading the newly created White House Office of Health Reform. It is unclear whether the next HHS nominee will also fill both roles.

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Read other articles from the February Edition of the Cancer Policy Monitor: