HHS: Kitzhaber is out.

According to OPB, former governor John Kitzhaber says he's not interested in serving as the Secretary of Health and Human Services:

Former Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber says he’s flattered by being mentioned as a possible cabinet secretary in the Obama Administration. But he says he’s not interested in heading the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

And Kitzhaber says he’s not being vetted for the job. Kitzhaber’s name came up after former Senator Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination to HHS.

Kitzhaber says he’d rather focus on his current role out of government.

John Kitzhaber: "I don’t think that running the agency is necessarily the same as reforming the health care system. My real interest is in the reform effort myself. And I have some very definite ideas about what the problem is and how to address it. And I’m very anxious to see if we can get those ideas into play."

Kitzhaber said he was unexpectedly flattered to be called a “loose cannon” by a commentator on Fox News.

  • Jägermeister (unverified)

    Kitzhaber said he was unexpectedly flattered to be called a “loose cannon” by a commentator on Fox News.

    That's hysterical. I guess Faux News did their homework.

  • Zarathustra (unverified)

    Nice to know that entrenched power interests agree on who is and isn't the right kind of candidate, vis a vis the Obama administation. It's been a weird discussion anyway, given that Kitz has said he wouldn't and a lot of people think the talk is just backup to the decision that was made weeks ago to select Gupta.

    Perhaps the idea is to exhaust the public's attention span on the subject of HHS, propose some real change, and Dr. Gupta won't become the focus for the kind of attack that he probably would have been, had he been the focus of the story.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Zarathustra | Feb 5, 2009 1:40:35 PM

    I haven't heard anyone seriously suggest that the President's pick for Surgeon General should be tapped as Secretary of HHS. Where do you get that from?

  • Mrs.Todd (unverified)

    A loss for the whole country.

  • Maybe Czar is the wong word? (unverified)

    Out for HHS. Perhaps in for Czar?

    Kitzhaber for Health Czar

  • (Show?)

    Kitz makes a strong point when he says, "I don’t think that running the agency is necessarily the same as reforming the health care system."

    Given that he's not been shy about his desire to see the system reformed it makes sense that he'd turn down even being discussed for the position.

  • Rob (unverified)

    As you know, Onward Oregon is mounting a Kitzhaber for health czar effort. Here is my note

    President Obama,

    The best wishes on the challenges you and we face. I am writing suggesting you consider former governor and doctor John Kitzhaber as health czar. As part of my work, I work on health care IT and support for aging in place and chronic disease management.

    Governor Doctor Kitzhaber has worked in emergency rooms and knows that that is not the best way to provide care in non-life threatening cases. He understands how we can provide needed care to our most vulnerable. We have the most technically advanced health care capability in the world, yet we are using it in the most inefficient way imaginable, while failing to meet basic needs. Those basic needs can be met at minimal cost.

    Dr Kitzhaber has focused his efforts after his term limited role as governor on heath care costs in later life. This is the greatest challenge facing our country and the world.

    A strong prenatal care system is also critical to produce healthy babies. Finally, no amount of health care can overcome life choice related illness.

    Senator Wyden is familiar with Dr Kitzhaber's experience. If Dr Kitzhaber is unable to take full time residence in Washington for family considerations, I would urge you to draw upon his experience in an advisory capacity.

    The best to you and your family and our country and world.

    <h2>(Note I would like to see Dr and former governor Dean in Washington as well. BO readers will remember the Dean Strategy of engaging young non-voters in 50 states as well as his Vermont health care initiatives.)</h2>
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