Advertisement

Archive for Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sebelius, in confirmation hearings, says healthcare reform is her ‘mission’

Sebelius calls for fraud crackdown

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, from left, stands with former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Tuesday in Washington, D.C., before the start of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Sebelius is President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, from left, stands with former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Tuesday in Washington, D.C., before the start of her confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Sebelius is President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

March 31, 2009, 10:13 a.m. Updated March 31, 2009, 4:21 p.m.

Advertisement

Sebelius, in confirmation hearings, says healthcare reform is her 'mission'

Confirmation hearings for Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius are underway in Washington. Enlarge video

Senators question Sebelius at hearing

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' confirmation hearing to become head of the Health and Human Services Department on Tuesday was dominated by talk of health care reform. Enlarge video

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.

— Saying she’d be a tough enforcer, President Barack Obama’s choice to head the Health and Human Services Department on Tuesday called for a crackdown on medical fraud as part of any health care overhaul.

“Having a few strike operations may be the most effective way to send the signal that there’s a new sheriff in town, and I intend to take this very, very seriously,” Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Sebelius also said she is concerned that efforts to control health care costs may ultimately prompt attempts to ration care, which she would oppose.

As the Democratic governor of a politically conservative state, Sebelius sought to portray herself as a leader who can work with both parties to craft health care reform legislation that would win broad support. Indeed, her comments on fraud and rationing echoed the concerns of committee Republicans.

Fraud is estimated to siphon off about 10 percent of what taxpayers spend for health care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, accounting for more than $70 billion a year in losses.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., suggested the Obama administration needs to stanch the losses before it asks taxpayers for more money to cover the uninsured. Responded Sebelius: “I certainly think that a significantly more aggressive effort to go after fraud and abuse is well-deserved.”

On the issue of rationing, Sebelius parried questions from Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., about effectiveness of research for which the administration has allocated $1.1 billion. She disagreed that such research, which compares the benefits of treatments, tests and medications, might lead to rationing. But she said she is concerned about efforts to ration care to control soaring costs, adding that she had battled insurers over that when she served as a state insurance commissioner.

Sebelius was introduced by former Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas. Dole echoed Sebelius’ call for quick action to overhaul the health system and praised her as a bipartisan leader who could pull it off.

The health committee won’t actually vote on sending Sebelius’ nomination to the full Senate. That job falls to the Senate Finance Committee, which will hold a hearing Thursday.

Comments

Shardwurm 5 years, 4 months ago

Too bad her 'mission' also includes taking our money away. 'Free healthcare' are two mutually-exclusive words.

0

stuckinthemiddle 5 years, 4 months ago

~chuckle~ as much as I see some of you people posting on here I'd have to guess that you're either independently wealth or on some kind of dole yourselves... and one situation is a lot more likely than the other…

0

1029 5 years, 4 months ago

"I thought he was dead..."

Kind of says something about the poster's level of awareness/intelligence when it comes to politics, doesn't it?

0

BorderRat 5 years, 4 months ago

Dear President Obama, let me keep my money, you can keep the change.

0

John Kyle 5 years, 4 months ago

I hope Sen Kennedy's dream of health care for all becomes a reality before he passes. Go Ted! Go Kathleen!

0

preebo 5 years, 4 months ago

Did anybody catch C-Span, and McCain's questioning of Sebelius? He went at her with everything he has. While everyone else was fairly soft on her, McCain pressed her on his campaign rhetoric, claiming that Obama's plan would be a "government run" health care system.

0

HermioneElliott 5 years, 4 months ago

What's up with the vicious remarks to a man who is very ill, and the smutty remarks? Be respectful and take the subject of health care seriously. Do we want those, some from out of town, who are reading the LJW to think of us as spiteful and mean, whose response to a different opinion is, drop dead?

0

gphawk89 5 years, 4 months ago

"Do we want those, some from out of town, who are reading the LJW to think of us as spiteful and mean, whose response to a different opinion is, drop dead?"

Unfortunately, this has probably already come to pass. Anyone considering moving to Lawrence would probably have major second thoughts after reading comments on LJW for a few days. I know I would. LJW is doing a major disservice to Lawrence by allowing comments. No, I shouldn't say that. Maybe something more like: boneheaded, spiteful, mean posters are doing the disservice.

0

Ryan Neuhofel 5 years, 4 months ago

Unfortunately, we have become a society that prefers to debate "politics" in terms of individual characters and meaningless events - Obama's cigarettes, Palin's wardrobe, etc. To most people (on both sides) government is a form on entertainment - like a sporting event with each side rooting for their "royal" team. This superficial chatter is much easier than an honest intellectual debate using philosophic and economic rational. And the sides often switch positions on issues on the basis of who's "team" is in power . . .

"Bush is giving our money to these corporate fat cats! Corporate welfare is wrong" 6 months later . . . "Obama's "economic recovery act" will save all these big companies and help the little guy keep his job"

OR

"Bush needs more executive power and secrecy to effectively fight terrorists. We need the Patriot Act to protect Americans" 6 months later . . . "Obama is abusing his power and building secret prisons to house Americans"

"Now the old king is dead! Long live the king!" Coldplay

0

staff04 5 years, 4 months ago

Where was "free healthcare" mentioned?

Also, why shouldn't the government be allowed to go into the insurance business? I thought competition was good for consumers?

0

Flap Doodle 5 years, 4 months ago

If Kathy doesn't make it, Democrat Ray Nagin may be looking for a new gig soon.

"Mayor Ray Nagin took a Hawaiian vacation with his controversial technology chief Greg Meffert in December 2004, and the mayor said Monday that he does not know who paid for the trip."

http://www.nola.com/news/index.ssf/2009/03/meffert_took_nagin_on_trip_to.html

0

Jeff Barclay 5 years, 4 months ago

7,000 could be enough to send her packing. Why can't our leaders get their taxes correct until after they realize they will be scrutinized?

0

jafs 5 years, 4 months ago

Barclay,

That's an excellent question!

I would propose that anyone who can't pay their taxes correctly the first time be excluded from public service.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.