Daschle a Resource for the White House, Congress on Healthcare

Behind the scenes, Tom Daschle, once Obama's choice for health czar, is an influential resource.

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By Nikki Schwab, Washington Whispers

He was ousted from his Senate seat and forced to turn down a cabinet job, but Tom Daschle is doing what he can to cheer on healthcare from the sidelines. What does he see as his official role? "Well, I guess I would call myself a resource," the former Senate majority leader tells Whispers. "I'd like to be a resource to my former colleagues, to the extent that I can to the administration, to the stakeholders, and to people interested in just kind of knowing how this is all going to play out—I am most comfortable with the word 'resource.' " One thing that he produced, with fellow Bipartisan Policy Center founders Howard Baker and Bob Dole, is a plan for healthcare reform that's been getting some attention in Washington. It's financed differently than the proposal the House announced Tuesday, and their public option is state-driven instead of federally driven. "Other than that, the framework is very similar," notes Daschle. "I'm very pleased with what the health committee in the House came up with," he adds.

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