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Source: Daschle to get Health and Human Services nod Thursday

  • Story Highlights
  • Ex-Sen. Tom Daschle is a health care adviser on Obama's transition team
  • The former Senate majority leader says he plans to write Obama's health care plan
  • Daschle advocates expanding federal employee health benefits to private employers
  • Linda Daschle, a registered lobbyist, would leave firm to clear potential conflicts
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former Sen. Tom Daschle will be announced Thursday as President-elect Barack Obama's nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, a Democratic source said Wednesday.

Former Sen. Tom Daschle, shown with his wife, Linda, says he will write Obama's health care plan.

Former Sen. Tom Daschle, shown with his wife, Linda, says he will write Obama's health care plan.

CNN has previously reported that the 61-year-old former Senate majority leader from South Dakota would be Obama's choice, but not the announcement date.

In November, Daschle said he was excited about the possibility of serving as point person in Obama's effort to change the nation's health care system.

Daschle is on the health care advisory group of Obama's transition team and said he plans to write the health care plan that Obama submits to Congress next year.

"I hope to have the plan enacted by next year, and then it will take several years to implement," Daschle said last month.

Daschle said reforming health care in the United States must be a priority in the current economic climate.

"We can't afford not to do it," he said. "If we do nothing, we'll be paying twice as much on health care in 10 years as we do today."

Daschle served as Democratic leader in the Senate from 1995 until he lost a re-election bid in 2004.

Representing South Dakota, he was first elected as a congressman in 1978 and served in the House until he was elected to the Senate in 1986.

He recently wrote a book on health care titled "Critical: What We Can Do About the Health Care Crisis."

In the book, he pushed for universal health care coverage to reach 46 million uninsured Americans by expanding the federal employee health benefits program to include private employer plans together with Medicaid and Medicare.

Most Republicans oppose any such plan, saying it would give too much power to the government. They've also questioned Daschle's recent work for a Washington lobbying firm.

His wife, Linda Daschle, is a registered lobbyist for a firm that includes health care clients. But a source close to Daschle told CNN that Linda Daschle would be leaving the firm at the end of the year to set up her own company focusing on transportation lobbying in order to clear any potential conflicts of interest.

CNN's Candy Crowley and Ed Henry contributed to this report.

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