As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Looks Like Sebelius

In addition to California, another budget crisis has been simmering in Kansas, where the Governor signed a bill after getting resistance from Republicans to cover a budget deficit with reductions and moving money from other accounts. Tax refunds and state worker paychecks were at risk. The result is that services will go down, as they will across the country.

Therefore, it's no surprise that Kathleen Sebelius, the aforementioned Governor, may bail out and become the Health and Human Services Secretary.

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas, an early Obama ally with a record of working across party lines, is emerging as the president’s top choice for secretary of health and human services, advisers said Wednesday.

Should she be nominated, Ms. Sebelius would bring eight years of experience as her state’s insurance commissioner as well as six years as a governor running a state Medicaid program.

But with President Obama about to begin a drive to expand health coverage, an issue on which the two parties have deep ideological divisions, her strongest asset in the view of the White House may be her record of navigating partisan politics as a Democrat in one of the country’s most Republican states.

I think Sebelius is one of the rising stars of the party, a popular Governor in a very red state. That she would not be running for US Senate in Sam Brownback's open seat at a time when we need all the Senate votes we can get is too bad, but if she stays in that Governor's mansion I don't know how popular she'll remain. It's a bad time to be running states.

I don't really know Sebelius' position on health care, but she's stepping into a difficult fight with a lot of competing interests. There are single-payer advocates and shared-responsibility advocates and those who want market-based solutions or absolutely nothing. I think Sebelius is going to have to harness the power of the American people to get anything major done, as well as navigate a lot of competing interests. There is momentum for reform but the devil is in the details and there are many pitfalls. Good luck to her.

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