INFLUENCER

Daschle: Health Care's Secret Powerbroker

Although Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination as Health secretary months ago, the former senator is exercising tremendous influence on the shaping of the health-care bill from behind the scenes, The New York Times reports. Daschle began promoting the nonprofit insurance cooperative plan two months ago as a politically feasible way to pass reforms. Now, Senate leaders and President Obama are moving toward that plan and away from the public option, to the dismay of the left wing. Daschle is a highly paid adviser to health-care industry clients of a law and lobbying firm, though he is not a registered lobbyist himself. Critics say his advisory role to the White House is inappropriate, due to his lobbying ties. But Obama and Daschle met as recently as Friday, and Daschle was introduced at one event as "the architect of President Obama's health-care plan." Daschle says he favors a government-run insurance plan, but doesn't think it could pass, and that his support for a nonprofit cooperative model has nothing to do with the interests of his industry clients.