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David Kirby on HuffPo: Tom Daschle Friend to Many Autism Families

DavidkirbyDavid Kirby has written a piece over at HuffPo about Tom Daschle's selection as head of the Department of Human Services.  Click HERE to read the full post. Leave a comment at HuffPo won't you. I'm sure the designated ND commenter is already on duty over there.

By nominating Tom Daschle to head up the agency, President Elect Obama has selected a man who has demonstrated an unflinching willingness to question vaccine safety, and to fight for the rights of those people who believe they have been, or may be, seriously injured by certain vaccinations.

Senator Daschle is not anti-vaccine, but his record shows his willingness to question - and even oppose - vaccine makers and big pharmaceutical interests - when it comes to protecting the rights of American medical consumers.



*sigh* Looks like we just lost a friend in DC...


The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Tom sounds rather establishmentarian to me. Obama's appointments are beginning to add up to more of the same...not a good sign.


“Daschle stayed in the capital after his defeat, becoming a public policy adviser and member of the legislative and policy group at the law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird. Daschle isn't registered as a lobbyist. He advises clients on issues including health care, financial services, taxes and trade, according to the firm's Web site.

Health care interests, including CVS Caremark, the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, Abbott Laboratories and HealthSouth, are among the firm's lobbying clients.”



Everything in congress and politics is a negotiation or compromise. (What happened to doing the right thing?) I find this appointment no exception. It seems the piecemeal of an Obama administration and policy is being doled out to Washington insiders. Is it a coincidence they supported Obama over Clinton? It seems what will happen has already been decided. Will this be good or progressive for the autism community?

NY Times: http://tinyurl.com/6nmvts

...At issue is Mr. Daschle’s work since leaving the Senate four years ago as a board member of the Mayo Clinic and a highly paid adviser to health care clients at the law and lobbying firm Alston & Bird.

In a detailed list of campaign promises, Mr. Obama pledged that “no political appointees in an Obama administration will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years.”

Although Mr. Daschle’s work might not preclude his appointment, it could raise the possibility that the administration could require him to recuse himself from any matter related to either the Mayo Clinic or some of the clients he advised at Alston & Bird — a potentially broad swath of the health secretary’s portfolio.

...A spokeswoman for Alston & Bird declined to disclose which of the firm’s health care industry clients Mr. Daschle had advised; the firm represents dozens of such concerns including pharmaceutical companies, health care providers, and trade groups for nurses and nursing homes.

LA Times: http://tinyurl.com/5us3x9

...Daschle toyed with the idea of running for president in 2008 but opted to support Obama, endorsing him early over other former Senate colleagues running for president, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Fifteen years ago, Daschle played a central role in pushing the Clintons' unsuccessful healthcare reform effort on Capitol Hill.

Today, he remains a vocal champion for bringing the roughly 46 million uninsured people in the U.S. into the healthcare system -- though, like most advocates of overhauling healthcare delivery, he no longer calls for the creation a single-payer system like the one promoted by the Clinton administration.

Daschle has proposed giving all Americans access to the current healthcare system for federal employees, which relies on private insurers. Obama made a similar proposal on the campaign trail.

In his recent book "Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis," Daschle called for the creation of a "federal health board" to recommend what drugs and treatments health insurers should cover, based on evidence of their effectiveness.

Daschle's prescriptions for the healthcare system are generally similar to a reform outline unveiled last week by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who is talking with Kennedy's staff and representatives from the Obama transition team about writing legislation.

Most importantly, Daschle and Baucus both want to keep the existing system of employer-based coverage intact and layer over it a new system that would include people who are not insured.

...Earlier in the day, America's Health Insurance Plans, the health insurance industry's Washington-based lobbying arm, announced its support for proposed new regulations that would require insurers to cover all customers, regardless of preexisting conditions.

In exchange, the insurance industry group called for a mandate that all Americans obtain health insurance, a key part of Baucus' proposal, though one that Obama rejected on the campaign trail. Obama said the government should mandate coverage only for children.

Fifteen years ago, by contrast, insurers rejected federal mandates for universal coverage during the debate over the Clinton administration's proposal.

Daschle's health care book published February 2008!: http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0312383010/ref=sib_dp_ptu#reader-link

There is no mention in the index of autism or vaccines.

Shauna- Together In Autism- www.togetherinautism.org

I hope this is the beginning of a new dawn.
We need honesty and someone who provides an eaqual playing ground for all communities. Ours has been in the dark for too long. We are the 60% of the autism community that believes vaccines and enviromental toxins have induced autism. It's time to get someone in there with an open mind and someone that will let OUR voice be heard. Lets keep our fingers crossed...

Together In Autism


Further update: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (yay!) is #4 on the oversight committee. Supports fellow NY Rep. Eldophus Towns to lead the committee, but if he doesn't run, she will.

"If the chair of Oversight and Government Reform becomes open, I would support Mr. Towns. If Mr. Towns were not a candidate, I would be — and I believe I would make the strongest case, having served the caucus by my work in helping to save the census and advancing a reform agenda in Government Oversight,” Maloney said.

Maloney’s yielding essentially makes any Oversight race a two-person contest between Towns and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who is just below Maloney on the panel. Through his office, Cummings has expressed his interest, and is an active supporter of Waxman in his bid to take the Energy and Commerce helm. It also means that if Towns were not to run, Maloney would try to move in ahead of Cummings.
If the caucus decides to install Waxman at the head of the Energy committee, the Steering and Policy Committee would likely hear later on Thursday from interested candidates in the Oversight chairmanship and vote to recommend one candidate for the job.

Wouldn't THAT be awesome??


In other political news, Henry Waxman (boo, hiss) has just ousted John Dingell as chair of the Energy & Commerce Committee. No word as to who is taking over his chair at Gov't. Oversight. Everyone's playing this as a great thing for the environment, but not sure it's a good thing re: trying to regulate Pharma or push autism legislation.


From the horses' mouth:

Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis

By Tom Daschle

(excerpt p. 32)

Our system is so disjointed it's no wonder we measure up so poorly to other nations when it comes to prevention and care management. Australia has vaccinated more seniors against flu and children against polio.41 The United States has a higher incidence of Hepatitis B, a vaccine-preventable disease, than do Australia, Canada, and New Zealand, and a higher asthma mortality rate than Australia or Canada.42



I was very happy to read this. When I first heard the news my immediate thought was to check AoA.

This man may or not may change things in exactly the way we want, but this is the kind of man we need. This is why we voted for Obama, regardless of one ill-informed remark. These are the people we need to make things right. Lots of things.

Media Scholar

Here is a statement he made in 2005.


Thousands of people die from medical errors every year and the odds of surviving some kinds of cancer or getting vaccines are lower here than in many other nations.


This is the start of something big. Very exciting.

Hary Hofherr

I might be confusing him with someone else but I believe Michael Strautmanis, Barak Obama's senate chief of staff, was also Daschele's chief of staff. He also has a son with autism.

Rachel Ford

"Let's just pray this man cleans house at the CDC.
Let's hope a new breed is brought in that cares more about children than pharmaceutical profits.
It's time we safety tested vaccines.
Banned Thimerosal and conducted a vaxed vs unvaxed study."

Amen!! No time to waste!


I kept checking AoA and HuffPo after I heard the news today. I am heartened that we have half a chance at turning this train around.


OMG! I just read your full article. Back in the Clinton era we were knee deep in saving our son.
I am weeping with joy.
Thank God Thank God.


Let's just pray this man cleans house at the CDC.
Let's hope a new breed is brought in that cares more about children than pharmaceutical profits.
It's time we safety tested vaccines.
Banned Thimerosal and conducted a vaxed vs unvaxed study.
The clock is ticking as the Autism numbers grow exponentially.

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