According to the White House, Obama and Daschle "agreed that substantive reform that lowers costs, reforms the insurance industry, and expands coverage is too important to wait another year or another administration, and they agreed to stay in touch over the coming weeks and months as this critical effort moves forward."
Of course, this required significant spin, as WaPo reports, due to the inconvenient fact that Daschle's law firm represents one of the largest private insurers that is dead opposed to such reforms:
But Daschle is also working closely with lobbyists, through his job at the Alston and Bird law firm, as an adviser to United Health Group, one of the nation's largest insurance companies. The insurance industry opposes the public option.
White House aides said that Daschle's corporate work does not present a conflict of interest and that Obama counts the former Senate leader as a confidant. "The president knows and expects that, when he asks Senator Daschle a question, that he's getting the opinion of Senator Daschle and not anybody else," press secretary Robert Gibbs said.
Yeah. Sure, Bob.
But just what is United Health Group doing, based on the sage advice of legal counsel?
At least one major insurer is urging its employees to participate in tea parties.
Last week, UnitedHealth Group--the second largest health insurance company in the country--sent out a letter to its employees urging them to call UHG's United for Health Reform Advocacy Hotline to speak with an advocacy specialist about health care reform. The advocacy specialist, according to the letter, is there to help UHG employees write personalized messages to elected officials, and to arm them with talking points to use at local events in order to better oppose the public health insurance option.
I tend to prefer Nancy Willing's characterization of Tom Daschle as a Greedy Two-faced Shill for Big Health Insurance.
Here's the deal that the Demopublicans don't want to acknowledge ... yet.
There will be health insurance reform passed this year, because the major constituencies, which are health insurance and pharmaceutical companies have now come on board through direct access to the President of the United States.
All of you out there who were hoping for a robust public option or single-payer are not actually considered stakeholders because you have not brought enough money or influence to the table.