Saturday, February 28, 2009

Obama picks Sebelius for HHS post

Who saw that coming? The news will be officially announced Monday:
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius accepted President Obama's nomination to become Health and Human Services Secretary this afternoon, according to administration officials. Sebelius will replace former senator Thomas A. Daschle, who withdrew from consideration last month.

"This evening, the President asked Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to serve as his Secretary of Health and Human Services, and she accepted," one administration official said. "The President will formally announce the nomination on Monday afternoon at the White House."

Several Democratic sources said, however, that it is less likely the moderate Democrat will be offered the job of director of a new White House Office of Health Reform, a post Daschle had negotiated for himself as a way to increase his influence in the new administration.

Sebelius, the 60-year-old daughter of a former Ohio governor, served as state Insurance Commissioner before winning the 2002 governor's race. She is halfway through a second term.

Her nomination comes just days before the White House is scheduled to convene a high-level summit on health reform. In his budget, Obama set asides $634 billion for a new health reform reserve fund.

She should do great in the job. The only bad thing is that she could probably win the Senate race in Kansas in 2010, whereas no other Democrat can (in all likelihood). Oh well.

UPDATE: Along with Governor Sebelius, President Obama introduced Nancy-Ann DeParle as his health czar today. DeParle served in the Clinton administration as head of the agency that oversees Medicare and Medicaid, and also worked in Clinton's budget office.

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