Sebelius Latest Lamb to Health Care Slaughter | NBC New York

Sebelius Latest Lamb to Health Care Slaughter

New HHS secretary nominee inherits massive challenges



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    A clearly elated Governor Sebelius officially accepted President Obama's nomination today.

    Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius has been named America's new Tom Daschle, minus the silly glasses and the money-grubbing insurance company lobbying and (so far!) the terrible tax problems.

    Today Sebelius was nominated for secretary of health and human services, one of the most powerful (and thankless) positions in the new administration because its holder must singlehandedly overhaul a byzantine health care system by securing bipartisan support for measures that are guaranteed to be unpopular with at least half of the country. Sebelius is apparently qualified for this job because she has a long track record of failure reforming health care in her home state of Kansas.

    To be fair, Sebelius has had to contend with an extremely conservative Republican legislature that, in response to every piece of health care reform legislation she introduced, said, "That thing you proposed? Let's do the opposite." The one thing she managed to push through -- expanded eligibility for the State Children's Health Insurance Program -- has no money appropriated to support it.

    In sum, everything she tried to do, health care-wise, failed because of Republicans. So you can see how her agenda squares pretty neatly with President Obama's, which also features a lot of fruitless wrangling with intractable Republicans. The only difference is that Democrats enjoy majorities in both houses of the US Congress.

    Kathleen Sebelius seems like a nice enough person, and at least she is not as tackily and brazenly beholden to the industry she's supposed to reform as Tom Daschle was. Perhaps she'll be great! But if in a few years you're still uninsured because you're unemployed, you'll know who to blame.

    Health care policy expert Sara K. Smith writes for NBC and Wonkette. She has never been to Kansas.