“The costs are crushing us,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “It’s hurting families. Our businesses are less competitive. We can’t continue on this pathway,” the Obama Cabinet member added.
To achieve Obama’s health care reform agenda, the administration is considering several different approaches including a public insurance option, Sebelius said Sunday.
A public option would be similar to the existing Medicare and Medicaid programs and, by competing with plans offered by private insurers, the White House hopes it would help to lower the cost of coverage throughout the market.
“Competition is a good thing . . . Choice and competition is what we want,” Sebelius told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King Sunday.
“The president does not want to dismantle privately owned plans. He doesn’t want the 180 million people who have employer coverage to lose that coverage. He wants to strengthen the marketplace.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate confirmed former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services Tuesday on a 65-31 vote.
With the Sebelius confirmation, every Cabinet post in the Obama administration has now been filled.
(CNN) - The Obama administration is up against its first public health outbreak without a secretary of health and human services, but that could change with a Senate vote expected as early as Tuesday on the confirmation of Kathleen Sebelius.
If confirmed, Sebelius would take office as swine flu numbers climb worldwide. As of Tuesday morning, at least 90 cases have been confirmed, including 50 in the United States.
The White House, which declared a public health emergency Sunday, has insisted that it is equipped to handle the situation.
"I think this notion somehow that if there's not currently a secretary, that there's not the function that needs to take place in order to prepare for either this or any other situation is just simply not the case," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Service Employees International Union launched an online movement Monday attacking Republican senators for blocking the confirmation of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Services Secretary in the wake of the recent swine flu pandemic.
The SEIU accuses GOP senators of holding up the vote "to curry favor with extremist roots," and invokes Hurricane Katrina to urge visitors of the Web site to sign the petition.
"This disease is spreading as we speak, but right now, a Bush-appointed accountant is running the department," the union says on its website. "We need an HHS Secretary NOW. Sign the petition telling the Senate to vote immediately to confirm Gov. Kathleen Sebelius. If we don't act, the swine flu might just turn into another Hurricane Katrina."
The Senate could vote as early as Tuesday to confirm Sebelius as the department's new leader.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Calling her a politician with "serious lapses of conscience and integrity," a group of conservative leaders sent a letter Wednesday to senators urging members to oppose the nomination of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for secretary of health and human services.
Leaders of the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America and Focus on the Family called on senators who "claim to uphold the sanctity of life and the responsibility of the office of HHS" to vote against her. This comes one day after a committee voted 15-8 in favor of sending her nomination to the full Senate.
"Gov. Kathleen Sebelius's lack of integrity during the nomination process, together with her extreme pro-abortion record clearly demonstrate that she is unfit to serve as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services," the letter states. "Americans want and deserve better than a health care system run by a politician with serious lapses of conscience and integrity."
The Democratic governor has faced heat from some conservatives for her support of abortion rights. In the letter, the group called her an "abortion radical" and one of the "most fervent advocates for taxpayer-funded and late-term abortions in American politics."
"Given her propensity for abortion radicalism, her failure to pay her own taxes and her demonstrated lack of integrity, she will be a divisive force in this important office," the group said in the letter.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate Finance Committee voted Tuesday morning to send the nomination of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius to be secretary of health and human services to the full Senate.
Senators voted 15-8 to report her nomination to the Senate.
(CNN) — Kathleen Sebelius revealed Tuesday that she recently paid nearly $8,000 in back taxes and interest, becoming the sixth Obama nominee to have tax issues.
In the letter, released Tuesday by the committee and the Department of Health and Human Services, the Kansas governor said she had errors in her 2005, 2006 and 2007 tax returns.
Sebelius said she did not have letters supporting three charitable contributions she and her husband made and deducted, and had "insufficient documentation required to claim some deductions for business expenses."
Also, she and her husband sold their home for an amount less than their outstanding mortgage balance, and mistakenly continued to deduct the interest. The couple also treated a home equity loan the same way.
As a result, they have now paid $7,040 in taxes and $878 in interest.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius opened her Senate confirmation hearing for health and human services secretary Tuesday by pledging swift action on the burgeoning U.S. health-care crisis.
"We face a health system that burdens families, businesses, and government budgets with sky-rocketing costs. Action is not a choice. It is a necessity," she told members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Sebelius' hearing was chaired by Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts, who has made few public appearances since being diagnosed last year with malignant glioma, an often-lethal type of brain tumor.
"Over the past 10 months, I've seen our health-care system up close. I've benefited from the best of medicine," Kennedy said. "But we have too many uninsured Americans. We have sickness care and not health care. We have too much bureaucracy. ... Costs are out of control. But today, we have an opportunity like never before to reform our health care."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, President Obama’s nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services, is getting some support from Christian leaders in what could be a brewing battle over her position on abortion policy.
Sebelius, who is Catholic and personally opposed to abortion, has nonetheless angered some religious groups with her policy positions on abortion during her tenure as governor.
In a statement issued Monday, a group of Christian leaders said that under Sebelius, the number of abortions in the state had decreased, pre-natal care had expanded, adoption funding and incentives increased, and legislation passed that protected the unborn from crime.
“Such a record demonstrates a commitment to results rather than rhetoric on life issues,” the group said.
Citing her appeal in a heavily Republican state, the group also suggested Sebelius has the ability to bridge ideological divides. “Her record and her relationships with leaders in both parties are proof that pro-choice and pro-life leaders can work together to advance a pro-family agenda....Efforts to discredit her will no doubt arise,” they said, but Sebelius “deserves a fair hearing in Congress and in the public square.”
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' experience working with both Democrats and Republicans in her home state could be an asset to President Obama as he embarks on an effort at bipartisanship in reforming health care.
Obama on Monday nominated Sebelius to be his health and human services secretary.
Sebelius is a two-term Democratic governor in a Republican-leaning state. She previously served as a state insurance commissioner and oversaw Kansas' Medicaid program.
In a show of her bipartisan appeal, Republican governors such as Arnold Schwarzenegger of California and Jon Huntsman of Utah commended her selection.
Schwarzenegger said Sebelius "has a well-earned reputation of working across the political aisle," and Huntsman called the appointment "a welcome announcement."
Republicans from Sebelius' home state also threw their support behind the governor.
Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kansas, and Kansas GOP Sen. Pat Roberts, attended the announcement at the White House on Monday.
Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback released a statement with Roberts congratulating Sebelius and expressing an eagerness to work with their fellow Kansan on health issues.
But Brownback and Roberts came under criticism from some Republicans because they oppose abortion while Sebelius supports a woman's right to choose.
Brownback, who ran for the GOP presidential nomination, is considered one of the leading anti-abortion voices in the Senate.