Archive for Friday, February 20, 2009

New name emerges as a candidate for Health and Human Services secretary

Barack Obama and Kathleen Sebelius

Barack Obama and Kathleen Sebelius

February 20, 2009


Kathleen Sebelius: Two decades in politics

Kathleen Sebelius is the nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services in Obama's Cabinet. She has served as Kansas' governor since 2002 and before that was insurance commissioner and a state representative.

— The Obama White House continues to work on finding a replacement nominee for Tom Daschle to be health and human services secretary. The leading contender remains Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, who seems somewhat hesitant about making the move to D.C.

The administration is also considering Nancy-Ann DeParle, former administrator of the agency that runs Medicare and Medicaid and a former honcho at the Office of Management and Budget; and Jack Lew, who has been confirmed as deputy secretary of state for management. Lew worked on health care reform in the Clinton administration. There is a growing view that it may take two people to handle the twin roles Daschle had negotiated (a West Wing office plus the Cabinet spot).

Sebelius, 60, was a Kansas House member and served two terms as the state’s elected insurance commissioner before winning the first of her two terms as governor in 2002. Her supporters say her tenure in the insurance post allowed her to develop expertise on health care issues.

“She knows these issues,” said Robert Zirkelbach, spokesman for an insurance industry trade group, America’s Health Insurance Plans. “She has a history of working across the political aisle. I think she would be a good choice.”

Rother said: “Only Tom Daschle would have been her equal.”

Since Sebelius became governor, the state has expanded cancer screenings, allowed more residents to keep their health insurance up to 18 months after leaving their jobs and granted income tax deductions to help some lower their insurance costs. It also has increased funding for “safety net” clinics and expanded state medical and dental coverage for pregnant women.

“Most of the health care reform that happens will have to be federal reform,” said Kansas Senate Majority Leader Derek Schmidt, an Independence Republican. “The reforms that we’ve done in Kansas in recent years have been incremental progress. By definition, that’s what happens at the state level.”

But Sebelius has sought more sweeping reforms. She opened her second term in January 2007 by calling on legislators to draft a plan to bring universal health coverage to Kansas. Last year, she backed a 21-point from plan from a state health care agency to phase in $330 million in new spending on health care initiatives over five years.

Legislators never acted on her call for universal coverage, and last year’s package gained little support because it required tobacco tax increases.


Flap Doodle 9 years, 2 months ago

Roland Burris is about to need a new gig. I'm just saying.

KEITHMILES05 9 years, 2 months ago

She knows she can't pull the same crap in DC that she has done here,

The_Bends 9 years, 2 months ago

Right on edjayhawk. I prefer a divided government to a government dominated by either political party.

It's kind of ironic that the anti-Sebelius posters (who purportedly abhor big, intrusive government) advocate a government dominated by a single political party.

preebo 9 years, 2 months ago

The answer is simple...

Fmr. Governor, Dr. Howard Dean, Fmr. DNC Chairman (author of the 50 state strategy)

KatWrangler 9 years, 2 months ago

edjayhawk (Anonymous) says…

She doesn't want to abandon Kansas citizens who would be faced with an one party system-The Kansas Republican Fascist Party.

Exactly! Its bad enough we have to have whack job Brownback.

KS 9 years, 2 months ago

I wish she would go, but I don't blame her either. Who in their right mind wants to live in DC? She will go, but she wants a six year commitment, ie: Senator. BO is looking more like a one term guy already. Makes Jimmy Carter look good.

bad_dog 9 years, 2 months ago

Good job leaving out the last sentence in the article not holroyd. Who knows what the truth may be, but nice job of objective reporting.

Sebelius' spokeswoman, Beth Martino, told Page Six: "That allegation is absolutely false."

Tom McCune 9 years, 2 months ago

The snarkiest part of the NY Post story above is that Dillard's is the top department store in Topeka. Sad, but true.... Dillard's doesn't qualify as "upscale" at all, in most places.

KS 9 years, 2 months ago

beobachter - Because the left wing nutcases are too stupid.

Danimal 9 years, 1 month ago

XD40 that's a good point. I hope that she does go though, it would be the best thing that has happened to Kansas in years.

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