EXCLUSIVES
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+RSS Feed
Fire EMSEMS TodayEMS Insider

Obama to Tap Kan. Gov. Sebelius as Health Chief

AP090112037602

WASHINGTON -- Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, the president's choice for health and human services secretary, will face a host of challenges in her new job, including a health system in disarray and a nation's food supply at risk.

Obama will introduce Sebelius on Monday afternoon in the White House East Room. The announcement of his health and human services secretary nominee comes just days before the president holds a White House summit on health care. Lawmakers from both parties and representatives of major interest groups, from insurers to drug companies to consumers, will attend.

Gaining their support - as well as winning confirmation - are among the 60-year-old governor's first challenges. A vast bureaucracy that handles everything from Medicare to cancer research to food safety awaits her. She will also be a very public face for Obama's plans for health care, although a White House-based counterpart will handle many of the new policy moves.

Originally, the president had counted on former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to shepherd his health overhaul agenda through Congress. Daschle would have worn two hats: health secretary and head of a White House health reform office. He was on a first-name basis with many in the Senate, where health care legislation faces its stiffest test.

But Daschle withdrew his nomination after disclosing he had tax problems. That left the new administration scrambling to find a substitute secretary.

The recession has taken its toll on Medicare, which provides health care for older people and the disabled. Plunging tax revenues have weakened the program's giant hospital fund, accelerating its projected insolvency to as early as 2016. That is only about five years after the first baby boomers will start signing up for services.

The Food and Drug Administration, meanwhile, is reeling from a seemingly endless series of safety lapses.

Sebelius is seen as a steady hand and an experienced public official who knows how to work across political lines. But she represents Obama's backup plan.

Sebelius knows some of the key players, but will have to establish a working relationship with others. Obama plans to name a different person for the White House health care job, raising the possibility of tension between that office and the health secretary's.

Obama made his opening move on a health care overhaul last week: his speech to Congress and a budget that set aside $634 billion over 10 years as a down payment on coverage for all. It's a goal that could ultimately cost $1 trillion or more.

Obama wants to expand coverage while slowing the rate of increase in costs. Administration officials say they hope that will lead to a more affordable system, without the coverage gaps that leave an estimated 48 million people uninsured.

RELATED ARTICLES

EMS Week: A Time to Reflect and Call For Action in America

The celebration of EMS Week is a great opportunity to take a few moments and review one of the most historic documents in EMS history.

Serving the Psychological Needs of Your Employees

How does your agency help employees cope with the traumas and stressors of EMS?

A Reader Shares Her Experience with James Page

His legacy lives on. 

Vehicle Staging is Essential at an MCI

It's a time-proven practice.

Delivering a Miracle

The Oregon River Safety Program, provided by American Medical Response as a service to communities it serves in Northwest Oregon, realized a decrease in drow...

EMS Physicians Can Help Close the Gap Between EMS & Other Public Health Agencies

Return EMS to our roots of a very close and mutually productive relationship between the EMS physician and the field care providers.

Features by Topic

Featured Careers

 

JEMS TV

FEATURED VIDEO TOPICS

Learn about new products and innovations featured at EMS Today 2015

 

JEMS Connect

CURRENT DISCUSSIONS

 
 

EMS BLOGS

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts