Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Services Secretary?

The AP's Jennifer Loven is hearing the name of the Governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, as a real possibility to be Barack Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius was very near the top of President Barack Obama's list of candidates to head the Health and Human Services Department, a senior administration official said Saturday.

The source, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss private administration deliberations, said no decision was imminent. But the official added the former Kansas insurance commissioner was rising as Obama considers prospective candidates.


Advocacy groups like the consumer watchdog role 60-year-old Sebelius played as insurance commissioner for eight years before she became governor.

Sebelius was one of the strongest surrogates for President Obama over the course of the 2008 campaign, during both the primaries and the general election, and was reportedly on the shortlist to join the Democratic ticket as the party's Vice Presidential nominee. She is also very popular, even in the deeply red state of Kansas, where 56 percent of voters -- including a respectable 42 percent of Republicans -- view her favorably. Perhaps the greatest downside to a Sebelius pick would be that her selection would turn what is a good Democratic pick up opportunity in the Kansas Senate race into a likely Republican retention. But whether Sebelius is on the inside track to the Obama cabinet, or even if she has a greater likelihood of being selected than, say, the moderate-to-conservative Phil Bredesen, remains to be seen.

Tags: HHS, Kathleen Sebelius, KS-Sen, Obama Administration (all tags)




If I recall correctly, Sebelius was handled as the front runner for HHS until she took herself out of the running.

http://www.kansascity.com/105/story/1017 977.html

But leaving her post as governor would be tricky, coming as it would less than two months after she withdrew from consideration for Obama's Cabinet on Dec. 6. At the time, she said she wanted to focus on state spending "given the extraordinary budget challenges facing our state."

While joining the Obama team would be exciting, she said at the time that "my service to the citizens who elected me is my top priority in these difficult times."

by devilrays 2009-02-07 07:19PM | 0 recs
There goes our chance

at the Kansas Senate seat.  

by Kent 2009-02-07 07:21PM | 0 recs
I still think

even with Sebelius, the Kansas seat would be an uphill battle. We saw a few of these polls in the last campaigns in ultra red states where it seemed like we would have a chance and then faltered.

I still think with Sebelius, we'd have a 50/50 shot at the seat

BUT, if given a choice between Bredesen at HHS, and giving up this seat for Sebelius...um?

and you can't argue she isn't a good choice.

by DTOzone 2009-02-07 07:33PM | 0 recs
Without her

We would have zero chance of picking it up.  

by Kent 2009-02-07 07:34PM | 0 recs
Re: I still think

He can't argue against it because it is a great choice. Well worth a senate seat to get national health care.

by Lolis 2009-02-07 08:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Kathleen Sebelius for HHS Secretary?

I'm seriously hoping that the Governor stays put.  She's needed in Kansas to say "no" to the wingnuts in the Legislature.  (Some are trying to revive the plans for the Holcomb coal plant ... again.)

Having the Governor available for the 2010 Senate race would be an added benefit, but having her here actually doing her current job is what we need her for right now.

by Shocker Jim 2009-02-07 07:42PM | 0 recs
Re: Kathleen Sebelius

I think she'd be a great choice.  She's fought the health insurance industry and won as KS insurance commissioner.  I don't want to lose her as a governor, but I also don't want to pass over someone who would be a great HHS secretary because she'd have a somewhat less uphill battle for a Senate seat in 2010.

Does anyone know whether she's good working with legislators?  Or are the wingnuts in KS just too wingnutty for her to be able to do anything with them?

by mistersite 2009-02-07 08:11PM | 0 recs
Kathleen Sebelius -- Not Quite Right for the Job

As a longtime admirer of Sebelius, I do not think she would bring what is most needed to the job: clout on Capital Hill to muscle universal health care into law.

by Arthurkc 2009-02-08 08:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Kathleen Sebelius

In light of the damage centrists have done to the stimulus bill, perhaps we ought to ask whether she is one of them, too?

by Bob H 2009-02-08 02:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Service

Howard Dean is the only option.

by obama4presidente 2009-02-08 04:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Service

ummm... no, he really isn't.  Even if he's an option, saying he's the only acceptable person for the position is just setting yourself up for failure.  There are many, many people who would be good in the position.

by mistersite 2009-02-08 04:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Service

No.  As much as I would like to see Dean be offered, and accept, the position, he is clearly not the ONLY option.

by lojasmo 2009-02-08 05:19AM | 0 recs
Not the only option, but the best

What seems to be at stake here in this cabinet pick is whether or not America will get sent a message that the Administration is truly going to deliver on a campaign promise of change.

The underlying problem that is developing is the appointment of a former Lobbyist to the position most responsible for bringing about reform to Health Care.  

Not incoincidentally, drop in any of Obama's poll numbers occurred at exactly the same time as the HHS news broke - people are truly beginning to question Obama's agenda / the drop in support for the stimulus package is connected to Obama's overall message because if there is just one iota of favoritism, or lobbyism  - in the public eye - the largest check the public will ever write will seem as if its going to go to the wrong hands

We are all very concerned about what lobbyism has done to America.  Health Care quality has dropped, more people are uninsured now than ever, unexpected and out of control Medical expenses are the reason behind 60% of the bankruptcies filed by middle class people in America today -

And we all intuitively know that Lobbyism is behind it.

Dean is so intrinsically bound to real change, he was the catalyst of change in the party itself in the elections of 2004 - he brought the internet into the game, - it isn't really that he's the only option.

They could, for example, appoint a former insurance commissioner from a predominantly republican state - someone who would be on a chumly first name basis with all the insurance companies that could be up-ended by change -

Honestly , though - if you put that option on the table, you take away the option of real change.

And if the Public decide that DC is still broken, they will not play along with any stimulus games -the economy will not turn around until Americans decide to be proud of themselves again. Just fixing what Bush did to the country isn't good enough.

My feeling is that Howard Dean's appointment would bring a dialog of change into the national discussion that sorely needs to be present in a presidency that ran on a campaign message of reform and yes, sure, I know that big insurance companies like AIG are trying to sell the idea
that they're so important to the process but in the end, ...

Its People Powered Howard,  or its something else.


by Trey Rentz 2009-02-09 06:46AM | 0 recs
we have just seen how important EVERY VOTE

in the Senate is.

I agree, she is the ONLY one with a shot at the Senate seat.

If we trade for that, incredibly short-sided on the behest of the Obama admin.

I hope this is only a rumor, and Rahm stuffs his colossal ego in his pocket and they appoint Dr. Dean instead.

by WashStateBlue 2009-02-08 10:13AM | 0 recs
We Want Dean!

Hey, how about a Doctor who has been a leader in the fight for health care for the last 20 years, a successful Governor AND Democratic Party Chairman, and someone who wouldn't have to give up ANY political office?!

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=65 001140420

And we're not alone either:

http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/200 90207/NEWS03/902070337/1004/NEWS03

by Jim in Chicago 2009-02-08 01:59PM | 0 recs
Sign the petition for people powered Howard

Its stuck at shy of 2,000 signatures. Get it up over 2k !!


by Trey Rentz 2009-02-09 06:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Service

Sebelius would be a fine choice under most circumstances but right now we need someone who knows the ground and has outstanding creds in Healthcare. Bill Bradley would be my choice.

by waynedking 2009-02-08 08:01PM | 0 recs


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