Commentary: Sebelius is best choice for HHS

March 2, 2009 

This editorial appeared in The Kansas City Star.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has insisted for years that expanding access to medical care and containing soaring costs are the twin pillars of health-care reform.

She's got that right. And though her Republican-dominated Legislature balked at her proposals for expanding coverage, Kansas has created a more efficient and transparent health-care delivery system while she's been governor.

Sebelius now will have the chance to put her convictions to work on a much larger stage. President Barack Obama is expected to formally announce today that she is his nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

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.

As Kansas' elected insurance commissioner, Sebelius placed the interests of consumers first.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Kansas City Star.

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