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HHS WILL PROVIDE ANALYSIS FOR CLINTON ADMINISTRATION HEALTH REFORM PLAN, SHALALA TELLS FINANCE CMTE.; WHITE HOUSE NAMES RASCO, MAGAZINER LEAD AIDES

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

HHS will play an analytical, advisory role in developing the Clinton Administration's health care reform proposal, HHS Secretary-designate Donna Shalala indicated at her Jan. 14 confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee. Emphasizing a team approach to the development of health system reform, Shalala said: "When I say a team, it means that we are going to do what we have the capacity to do." She noted that HHS will support the policy roles of the White House and the Office of Management and Budget. "HHS has the capacity to do the analysis, and to lay out options and to be supportive of the President," Shalala said. An HHS health reform staff will be established soon after Shalala takes over at the department, she told the Senate hearing. The Finance Committee is scheduled to vote on her nomination on Jan. 19. During her Hill testimony, Shalala appeared determined to avoid the overlapping jurisdictions that can slow a major program such as health care reform. While committing HHS to an advisory role, Shalala said that position would provide a significant contribution to the policy formation. She emphasized that strong analytical groundwork is important to Clinton's objective of submitting a health plan within his first 100 days in office and crafting one that can withstand congressional scrutiny of its "fiscal impact." Clinton transition aides and incoming administration aides met Jan. 11 in Little Rock to discuss general options for health care reform. President-elect Clinton on Jan. 14 named two White House aides expected to play a major role in shaping the health care reform plan: Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy Carol Rasco and Senior Advisor for Policy Development Ira Magaziner. Rasco has worked with Clinton for 10 years and currently serves as his senior executive assistant in the Arkansas governor's office. She has been supervising the gubernatorial staff during Clinton's presidential campaign. Clinton noted that Rasco was his liaison to the National Governors' Association, and when Clinton chaired NGA, she aided in his "work on health care, child care and welfare reform." Magaziner, a business and economics consultant, participated in developing Clinton's health care positions during the campaign and is expected to have a key role in developing the incoming administration's health care reform plan. Also named were Bruce Reed and William Galston, both deputy assistants to the president for domestic policy, and Shirley Sagawa, special assistant to the president for domestic policy. Reed has ties to both the President-elect and Vice President-elect Al Gore and also to the Democratic Leadership Council. A Rhodes Scholar like Clinton, Reed was an aide and speechwriter in Gore's Senate office and 1988 presidential bid, and joined early in Clinton's presidential run. In between, he worked at the DLC, the moderate Democratic think-tank that Clinton helped establish. Galston, a professor of public affairs at the University of Chicago, was an advisor in the presidential campaigns of both Gore and Walter Mondale. In the Democratic Leadership Council's recent book Mandate for Change, Galston co-authored the chapter on "progressive family policy." The Senate Finance Committee has already made staff changes as a result of the change in committee chairmen. New committee Chairman Patrick Moynihan's (D-N.Y.) staffer Faye Drummond ("The Gray Sheet" Jan. 11, p. 10) is joining the committee as a health legislative assistant. The committee also is expected to take on a staffer to handle Medicaid issues. Lisa Potetz and Kathy King, who focus on Medicare Part A and Part B issues, respectively, will remain with the committee. The committee's chief health analyst, Marina Weiss, is expected to follow outgoing Finance Committee Chairman and Treasury Secretary-designate Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.) to the Treasury Department or take another post in the Clinton Administration. Committee health staffer Janice Guerney is moving to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
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