Health and Human Services
Tommy G. Thompson
Thompson, 59, has been calling himself a compassionate conservative for years. Indeed, he may be best remembered in Wisconsin, where he was elected governor for an unprecedented four terms, for aggressively getting more than 80 percent of the state's welfare population off the dole, while at the same time substantially increasing spending on state child care, health care, and other programs to support people who leave welfare for low-paying jobs. Now the Elroy, Wis., native is in charge of the very federal agency that frustrated him when he was governor. Thompson complains that HHS held his program proposals hostage by taking too long to approve waivers from federal laws. Determined to give states more flexibility to test ideas, Thompson now directs his employees to find ways to say yes-and quickly. But Thompson's take-charge attitude has some observers worried about his ability to get along with the White House, especially since his ideas about Medicare and the uninsured aren't always the same as President Bush's. Thompson has also shown an ability to adjust his approach to suit different jobs, however. Indeed, he approached his position as minority leader of the Wisconsin state Assembly and his post as governor very differently. In the Legislature, Thompson was an aggressive partisan, while as governor he showed some flexibility in working with Democrats. Thompson began his public service career in 1966 in Wisconsin's state Assembly, becoming minority leader in 1981. He was elected governor in 1987, and he has served as chairman of the National Governors Association. Thompson earned both undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Wisconsin (Madison).
States may find a friend in Allen. Like HHS Secretary Thompson, the 40-year-old conservative has pledged to give states greater flexibility to develop their own health care programs, and "only step in when the states are not measuring up." Said Thompson: "Claude's experience and state-level perspective are just what we need." Allen comes to HHS from Virginia, where he became secretary of health and human services in 1998. He played a leading role in Virginia's welfare reform, patients' rights and children's health care initiatives. Allen has been criticized as being too ideology-driven, and some blame him for not drawing more children into the state Children's Health Insurance Program. But even critics say that his Medicaid background will be a big help in the new job. As Thompson's second in command, Allen will be spending some time with members of Congress, and he's familiar with the ways of the Hill, having worked on the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for two years. Allen grew up in North Carolina, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill). He also has a law degree from Duke University.
Assistant Secretary (designate) for Management and Budget
Hale, 52, a virtual unknown in the health care world, has extensive experience in the political and budget arenas. An Ohio native, she held high-level jobs at HUD, the Transportation Department, and the all-powerful OMB during the Reagan and first Bush Administrations. When Clinton took office, Hale became an executive vice president at the University of Pennsylvania, where she managed a $1.7 billion operating budget and a $300 million capital budget. She served as chief lobbyist for the U.S. Telephone Association, as policy director for Elizabeth Dole's failed presidential bid, and, most recently, as chief finance officer for the House. Hale is said to have a keen understanding of the appropriations process, knowledge that will serve her well at HHS. A former colleague also praises her ability to sift through bureaucratese and "ask the right questions." Hale received an education degree from Miami University in Ohio and a master's in public administration from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
In 1998, when Jindal was chosen to head the staff of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare, Washington cynics chuckled, because Jindal was just 26 years old and had had little experience in Washington or with Medicare. But Jindal won praise for helping to shape a proposal that laid the groundwork for today's Medicare reform debate. Now, three years later, at the age of 30, Jindal has returned for a second stint in Washington, this time as the person responsible for developing major health reform initiatives, including modernizing Medicare and expanding coverage for the uninsured. Although some health care policy makers prefer a more seasoned candidate, Jindal has plenty of fans who point to his political and management savvy. Before working on the Medicare commission, Jindal turned around Louisiana's financially troubled Medicaid program. After the commission disbanded, Jindal became president of the University of Louisiana system and a professor of management there. Jindal grew up in Baton Rouge, La. He received an undergraduate degree from Brown University and a graduate degree from the University of Oxford.
Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Scully is taking on one of the most important-and potentially volatile-jobs at HHS. Key members of Congress are pursuing an overhaul of the Medicare and Medicaid agency, which until June 14 was known as the Health Care Financing Administration. This overhaul could diminish the agency's power, perhaps tearing it in two, with one part responsible for Medicare and the other for Medicaid. Even if it remains intact, the CMS (one of the M's was dropped from the initials to make the short name easier to say) will likely be reorganized to place a greater emphasis on private health plan participation. Whatever its form, the CMS will be "more efficient and effective," Scully promises. At 43, the baby-faced, well-liked Scully is giving up a high-paying job as head of the Federation of American Hospitals to return to the federal government. During the first Bush Administration, Scully served as an associate director of OMB, and later at the White House as deputy assistant to the President. After Bush's father left office, Scully became a partner in the Washington firm of Patton Boggs. Scully, who grew up in Pennsylvania, earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a law degree from Catholic University. He then spent time on Capitol Hill as a staff assistant to Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash.
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