Saturday, February 28, 2009

Obama to Name Kathleen Sebelius to HHS

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius will be tapped on Monday to be Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Barack Obama will highlight her bipartisanship, executive experience and independent-minded insurance experience. Unlike the previous nominee, Sebelius has not worked in Washington which will test her capacity to guide plans to overhaul the US health care system. And unlike the previous nominee, Sebelius will be nominated for Secretary of HHS only and not the health care role within the White House which is thought to be reserved for someone with the Washington background needed to drive Obama's health care legislation.

Sebelius has a Masters in Public Administration at the University of Kansas. For 8 years she served as a Kansas legislator. In 1994 she won election as Insurance Commissioner where she worked for the next 8 years. Sebelius developed a reputation for staying independent from the insurance companies and even halted a planned merger of the powerful Kansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

In 2002 Sebelius became the Democractic governor of a very red state. Her bipartisan appeal contributed to her re-election in 2006 by a wide margin. She remains a highly popular governor.

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