Get Health(y) Quick!

Priority one for the White House: find a new health care czar very quickly.  The institution set up to pass health care reform, consisting of an office in the White House and a cabinet department, will probably be dismantled. The Department of Health and Human Services will probably be headed by someone different. For White House health czar, Daschle's deputy and co-author, Jeanne Lambrew, is the leading candidate.

She has the policy chops and a good political sense; someone close to the health care discussions in the administration tells me that she's already the heavyweight in the room.   With her at the helm, the administration won't let the health care train get off track. (Daschle had been playing a 30,000 foot role anyway; Lambrew was more in the weeds with Senate and House policy staff, so she knows the bills better.) If Lambrew goes to HHS instead, then counselor Neera Tanden, a policy adviser to Obama and Hillary Clinton, has all the necessary skills.

Friends of transition chief John Podesta are putting out feelers.

For HHS, the you can responsibly float out the names of KS Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, California health czar Kim Belshe and Gov. Hitzhaber of Oregon. Howard Dean is a bit of a stretch, and people close to him do not expect him to be asked. As of late yesterday, Ex-Gov. Mitt Romney had not been asked.