Monday, March 2, 2009

Sebelius for HHS

The Kansas City Star is psyched that Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is going to be (assuming she can get though congressional confirmation) the Health and Human Services secretary. Here's from the editorial:

The job is a good fit for Sebelius, a wonkish (and we mean this as a compliment) Democrat who has enjoyed political success in an overwhelmingly Republican state.

She relishes an executive role and believes in finding efficiencies and in streamlining bureaucracies — traits that should help with running the mammoth Health and Human Services apparatus. Though an outsider to Washington, Sebelius is good at enlisting expert advice and will reach across party lines to get something done. She should be able to work with a White House “health czar,” if Obama chooses to appoint such a person.

The overall sense I get is that people are mostly satisfied with a Sebelius pick -- or at least relived that this Phil Bredeson nonsense has been put to bed. Since I only have a cursory knowledge of what health care reform might entail, I'm not a bona fide expert. But I'd say that Sebelius seems like the appropriate pick. She has lots of regulatory experience since she came from insurance regulation in her state -- and that's a good thing to me. HHS is the kind of position that is primarily about regulation.

What this means for health care reform, I'm not sure. I'll leave that to other health care wonks. What I can tell you is that Sebelius has a history of being on the right side of choice -- she's worked with Planned Parenthood in her state and she was at an inauguration event sponsored by the group this January. She's already been endorsed by a pro-choice Catholic group, Catholics United. After years of having an anti-choice HHS person in charge, it'll make a world of difference to have a pro-choice HHS secretary.

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