Saturday, February 28, 2009

Obama Names "Church of Universal Coverage" Member As Health Secretary; Kansas Governor Replaces Disgraced Daschle

Newsmax reports:

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is President Barack Obama's choice for secretary of health and human services, a White House source said Saturday.

The source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said Obama will formally announce the nomination on Monday.

Sebelius, 60, was an early Obama supporter. She picked his presidential campaign over that of Hillary Rodham Clinton, now the secretary of state. Sebelius worked tirelessly for Obama's bid and was a top surrogate to women's groups.

Obama's first choice for HHS, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, withdrew after disclosing he had failed to pay $140,000 in taxes and interest.

Sebelius drew praise for the consumer watchdog role she played as Kansas insurance commissioner for eight years before she became governor.

Her name had been floated for several Cabinet posts. She said in December that she had removed herself from consideration from a Cabinet job, citing Kansas' budget problems that needed her attention.

Michael Tanner at Cato cites Sebelius support of Universal health care and entitlement programs like SCHIP:

A preliminary look at her record suggests that she is a member of what my colleague Michael Cannon calls the Church of Universal Coverage, and has regularly pushed for the expansion of government programs such as Medicaid and SCHIP. She sought to have Kansas taxpayers cover all children up to the age of five, but her proposal was rejected by the legislature. She also has been sympathetic to the ideas of both an employer mandate (she imposed a mandate for companies receiving state contracts) and an individual mandate. As insurance commissioner she had a reputation for supporting increased regulation. Nothing surprising in this record at all.

An interesting question will be whether Sebelius will also inherit Daschle’s role as White House “health czar,” or whether that position will go to Daschle’s coauthor, Jeanne Lambrew, currently the “deputy czar.” If Sebelius doesn’t get the second post, expect health care reform to be driven out of the White House, while Sebelius, generally given high marks for bipartisanship, tries to corral moderate Republican votes.

Cato graded Gov. Sebelius a "D" in last year's Policy Analysis.

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  1. What's really bizarre is that Sebelius was a shoo in to take Sam Brownback's Senate seat in 2010...Sam is going to run for governor.

    Obama's, Hillary's, and Salazar's seats are all pretty safe Dem seats but Kansas is a pretty solid Republican State, it is only that Sebelius was a popular governor that makes this a credible pick up in 2010.

  2. Don't worry about it! You Socialists already have too many seats! You have enough to pass your extreme, radical agenda!

    Don't sweat it!

  3. Oh, that's right I keep forgetting to add Franken in a couple weeks.