WASHINGTON (CNN) — President-elect Barack Obama’s point man on health care reform wasted no time in portraying a sense of urgency on the issue at his confirmation hearing Thursday.

“The flaws in our health system are pervasive and corrosive. They threaten our health and economic security,” Tom Daschle, Obama’s choice for secretary of health and human services, said in his opening statement.

The incoming Obama administration, Daschle said, “realizes that change cannot be dictated from the White House or from Washington out but must come from the grass roots of this country and involve as many Americans as possible in the process of reform.”