Clinton Takes the Lead—On Health Insurance Reform

by Lesley Politi on November 19, 2008

Clinton Takes the Lead — on Health Insurance Reform

By Ceci Connolly
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) returned from the presidential campaign trail to Washington as relatively junior member of a chamber that prides itself on tradition, seniority and rules. So when she put out feelers seeking to leapfrog over more veteran senators in light of her national stature, the idea was quickly nixed.

So too was her hope to take the lead on health-care reform. Two Senate giants — Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), who is chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee — had already staked their claims on that turf.

Now it looks like she will get another crack at health-care reform efforts, after all.

While President-elect Barack Obama weighs whether to give his former rival a Cabinet post, Kennedy today deputized Clinton to run a special Senate task force on health insurance reform.

Clinton will lead “a committee working group” on insurance coverage, Kennedy announced, while Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) will oversee a subgroup on prevention and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) is heading up the quality task force.

Kennedy, who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer, has made clear he intends to press Obama to deliver on campaign promises to broaden and improve America’s health systems. He plans to meet Wednesday with Baucus and the two top Republicans on their respective committees.


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