Changes to our health care system may be on the way, as the new Obama administration health policies and players take shape.
President Barack Obama has made improving our nation's health care system a top priority of his new Administration. He has pledged to make quality health care more affordable for all Americans. And he has recognized the value of the medical research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
"Ensuring all Americans have health care is integral to the mission of HHS and the well–being of our families—but to achieve this goal, we will have to work together to tackle tough challenges."
— Tom Daschle
During his presidential campaign, he stated, "I strongly support increasing funding for the NIH. Even though biomedical research costs are increasing each year, annual funding for the National Institutes of Health has not kept up. This isn't just counterproductive, it is a failure to keep faith with so many Americans who are in the fight of their lives against cancer and other diseases, and it overlooks our country's tradition of medical innovation."
President Obama chose former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota to be the new Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the federal government's principal agency for protecting the health of all Americans. NIH is a part of HHS.
At his confirmation hearing, Secretary-designate Daschle said, "Ensuring all Americans have health care is integral to the mission of HHS and the well being of our families—but to achieve this goal, we will have to work together to tackle tough challenges. "
He spoke about the importance of the work of NIH, saying "Equally critical to protecting people by regulating drugs is discovering new drugs and treatments that can prevent, treat, and cure disease. The tremendous discoveries funded by the National Institutes of Health have often enabled us to live longer, better, more healthful lives.
"These are exciting times at NIH," Daschle said. "We are on the cusp of numerous scientific discoveries."
Daschle also spoke of his commitment to NIH and its mission when he said, "I will work to strengthen NIH, with leadership that focuses on the dual objectives of addressing the health care challenges of our people and maintaining America's economic edge through innovation."