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Clinton tapped for healthcare lead

Nov. 18, 2008 at 7:42 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 18 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York will have a key role in advancing healthcare reform this year if she stays in the Senate, a Democratic leader said.

Clinton was tapped by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., to lead a task force to develop a Senate Democratic proposal to expand health insurance coverage, The Hill reported Tuesday.

The proposal will be part of a larger push to overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system next year.

A junior member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which Kennedy heads, Clinton ultimately might not play a part in the proposal since she reportedly is under consideration to serve as President-elect Barack Obama's secretary of state.

Kennedy assigned Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, to lead the committee's efforts on prevention and public health, while Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., was picked to tackle healthcare quality.

"Our committee is fortunate to have the services of major leaders who are committed to improving healthcare for the American people. Senator Harkin, Senator Mikulski and Senator Clinton have generously offered to step forward and assume an expanded role on critical aspects of health reform," Kennedy said in a statement.

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