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Clinton Announces Medicare Commission Members

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Clinton Names His Medicare Commission Appointees

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Dec. 5) -- President Bill Clinton named his appointees to the Medicare Commission this afternoon, leaving the question who will chair the panel unanswered for another day.

Clinton's picks include former administration members, the chief executive officer of a major managed care company and a health-policy professor who has worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations. They are:

  • Bruce Vladek, who formerly directed Medicare as head of the Health Care Financing Agency;
  • Laura D'Andrea Tyson, of the University of California-Berkeley, and a former top Clinton economic advisor;
  • Tony Watson, CEO of HIP Healthcare (N.Y.); and
  • Stuart Altman, professor of health policy at Brandeis University of Waltham, Mass.

"These are distinguished, respected, highly skilled experts," said Clinton. "They understand health care and share our unshakable commitment to the values represented by Medicare. I expect them to work as strong partners with the other commissioners, and I look forward to their proposals to keep Medicare at the core of the American dream in the new century."

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Clinton, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and House Speaker Newt Gingrich have not yet announced their consensus choice as chairman of the commission. Louisiana Democratic Sen. John Breaux is thought to be a leading candidate, though Republicans would prefer to have one of their own leading the way.

With these appointees, all but two members of the 17-member commission will have been appointed. The remaining two appointees will be made by House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt.

Panel members already appointed are: Sens. Bob Kerrey, (D-Neb.) and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.); Rep. Bill Thomas (R-Calif.), who chairs the House Ways and Means health subcommittee; Rep. Michael Bilirakis (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Commerce health subcommittee; Rep. Greg Ganske (R-Iowa), a member of Bilirakis' subcommittee and a doctor; Samuel H. Howard, chief executive officer of Phoenix Healthcare Corp. in Tennessee; Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), a heart surgeon and chairman of the Senate Labor and Human Resources public health subcommittee; Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas), chairman of the Senate Finance health subcommittee; Illene Gordon, a 15-year veteran of Lott's office who handles constituents' Medicare cases in Jackson, Miss.; and Deborah Steelman, Washington health-care attorney who served as a Social Security advisor to President George Bush.

CNN's Jonathan Karl contributed to this report.


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