Daschle nervous about possible defunding of health reform

Defunding poses what former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle calls a "very serious threat" to the healthcare reform, according to an interview with Kaiser Health News. Daschle also is worried about implementation.

Because much of what happens will occur at the state level, governors could affect the level of support and the implementation's success. Just how much support the reform will get is up in the air, because 37 governor seats are up for grabs in this election cycle, he noted.

Daschle, who acted as a senior, informal advisor to President Obama during the health debate, is less concerned about the legal pushback that's coming from the Florida lawsuit and Cuccinelli case in Virginia. "I'm not too worried about repeal efforts," he told Kaiser Health News, "because I don't think those will go anywhere."

It's already clear that there are challenges on the implementation side. The Department of Health and Human Services has granted waivers to about 30 companies, insurers and unions, because they threatened to stop offering their employees continued healthcare, due to the fact that they could not meet the immediate minimum requirements of the reform. Roughly another 100 waiver requests remain in the pipeline.

"I think what the White House and those in charge of implementation are doing is trying to find that balance between the perfect and the good, between the pragmatic and the idealistic," Daschle said.

What's important is to keep the process moving forward, he said. "At the end of the day, the question is: How do we find ways to improve it? Not repeal it. We know the status quo is unacceptable."

Daschle recently published a new book, Getting It Done, which looks at the making of the healthcare reform.

To learn more:
- read the Kaiser Health News Q&A
- watch the video
- listen to the audio

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