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Haley looks to La. for DHHS head

Jan 4, 2011 12:58:00 PM - thestate.com
S.C. Gov.-elect Nikki Haley has turned to the administration of another rising star in the Republican Party to find her choice to be the next director of the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

Tony Keck, 43, will come to South Carolina from Louisiana, where he has been deputy secretary for the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals in the administration of GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal.

“We searched across the country for an expert in health-care reform,” Haley said Tuesday in announcing Keck’s appointment, which requires Senate confirmation. “I wanted someone who understands that South Carolina will not be a victim to health-care mandates pushed down by Washington, but instead we will be proactive and fight to create reforms that serve taxpayers without compromising on quality of care. We found that person, and his name is Tony Keck.”

Keck said he will look for ways for South Carolina to opt out of the new federal health care law. But his immediate challenge will be help Haley, who takes office Jan. 12, close the department’s $228 million deficit in its Medicaid budget, which pays for health care for the poor.

“I’m looking forward to getting to work as soon as possible,” Keck said.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)