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    Obama Picks Sebelius as HHS Secretary

    By Jennifer Huddleston, staff writer     

    On Monday, March 2, 2009, President Barack Obama officially nominated Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which controls Medicare and Medicaid, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

    Sebelius, 60, is currently in her second term as governor of Kansas and supported Obama’s bid for presidency early in his campaign.
    [1]

    “As a governor she’s been on the front lines of our healthcare crisis,” Obama said. “She has a deep knowledge of what the burden of crushing costs does to our families and businesses.”
    [2]

    Sebelius has been praised for her work as a Kansas insurance commissioner for eight years prior to being elected governor as a Democrat in a Republican state.
    [3]

    Sebelius’ experience as a governor and state insurance commissioner gives her “the right skill set” for her position as HHS secretary, American Medical Association president Nancy Nielsen, M.D., said in a statement.
    [4]

    Obama also named Nancy-Ann DeParle, a former Clinton administration health official, as head of the new White House Office of Health Reform.
    [5] DeParle is also a former head of Medicare and Medicaid and a former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services. [6]

    Sebelius is Obama’s second nominee for the HHS secretary role. Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle was slated to lead both the HHS and the White House Office of Health Reform but withdrew in February amid controversy over his failure to pay more than $140,000 in personal taxes and interest.
    [7]

    Sebelius must now be confirmed by the Finance and the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committees in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
    [8]

    Obama also announced on Monday that he is releasing $155 million in funding afforded by the stimulus bill passed in February to support 126 new community health centers that will provide medical services to the uninsured. The president’s budget also features a $634 billion “reserve fund” that will finance 10 years of healthcare changes. Obama aims to provide healthcare coverage for the 46 million uninsured in the U.S.
      [9]   


    [1] Babington, Charles. “Obama Taps Sebelius for HHS Secretary.” The Associated Press. Feb. 28, 2009.
    [2] Zwillich, Todd. “Obama Picks Sebelius as Health Secretary.” WedMD Health News. March 2, 2009.
    [3] Babington, Charles. “Obama Taps Sebelius for HHS Secretary.” The Associated Press. Feb. 28, 2009.
    [4] Zwillich, Todd. “Obama Picks Sebelius as Health Secretary.” WedMD Health News. March 2, 2009.
    [5] Alexander, David. “Obama Names Sebelius to Lead Health Reform Push.” Reuters. March 2, 2009.
    [6]  Zwillich, Todd. “Obama Picks Sebelius as Health Secretary.” WedMD Health News. March 2, 2009.
    [7] Babington, Charles. “Obama Taps Sebelius for HHS Secretary.” The Associated Press. Feb. 28, 2009.
    [8]  Zwillich, Todd. “Obama Picks Sebelius as Health Secretary.” WedMD Health News. March 2, 2009.
    [9]  Alexander, David. “Obama Names Sebelius to Lead Health Reform Push.” Reuters. March 2, 2009.



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