At the Wall Street Journal's Health Blog, Sarah Rubenstein wonders why Howard Dean is a long-shot choice for the Health and Human Services top job. She says that Dean's problem is not his credentials -- he's doctor who as governor of Vermont revamped the state's health insurance system -- but rather his personality conflicts. In the past, Dean sparred with Rahm Emanuel, now the president's chief of staff, and had a tough fight with Missouri's Dick Gephardt during the 2004 presidential campaign (one of Gephardt's strategists, David Plouffe, ran the Obama campaign). The current favorite for the HHS spot is the governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius.
On the FDA front, the front-runners are Joshua Sharfstein and Margaret Hamburg, according to the Washington Post. Sharfstein is Baltimore's health commissioner and was a health policy advisor to Henry Waxman. Hamburg was the assistant secretary of health and human services for policy and evaluation during the Clinton administration and was the New York City health commissioner.