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Obama’s Strong Choice

Obama’s Strong Choice

The Obama administration nominated Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for the top position at the Department of Health and Human Services this week. Richard Kirsch, National Campaign Director for Health Care for America Now, praised the choice, “Governor Sebelius has an outstanding record as an advocate for health care consumers in Kansas and is a great choice to help President Obama achieve his goal of quality, affordable health care for everyone in 2009.”

Personally, I am happy to see a woman in a position of authority on health care, especially a woman who was an avid consumer advocate. For more than 10 years, marketing studies have shown that women are the health care decision makers in families.  Polling also shows that women prioritize health reform as a way to address the economic crisis. According to the National Women’s Law Center, “though women are more likely than men to have health coverage, both insured and uninsured women are more likely than men to report difficulty obtaining health care because of cost.” In their report “Women and Health Coverage: The Affordability Gap” they point out that:

On average, women have lower incomes than men and therefore have greater difficulty paying premiums. Women also are less likely than men to have coverage through their own employer and more likely to obtain coverage through their spouses; are more likely than men to have higher out-of-pocket health care expenses; and use more health care services than men and consequently are in greater need of comprehensive coverage.

Kathleen Sebelius was able to really listen to the people of Kansas, and in spite of conservative opposition, she heard her state ask for protection from the insurance companies and relief from high premiums. As the Insurance Commissioner in Kansas, “She is credited with bringing the agency out from under the influence of the insurance industry. She refused to take campaign contributions from insurers and blocked the proposed merger of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, the state’s largest health insurer, with an Indiana-based company. The decision by Sebelius marked the first time the corporation had been rebuffed in its acquisition attempts.” Then as governor, she was a champion for women’s health and decreased health care costs for thousands of people in Kansas.
 
That is what we need in Washington–someone who is willing to stand up to lobbyists and conservative attacks on comprehensive reform that will provide a guarantee of quality, affordable health care for all. As we know, the lobbyists are gearing up for the fight, and I happy to know we have a strong woman with a record of standing up to them in our corner.

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By Levana Layendecker, Online Campaigns Director, Health Care for America Now

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4 comments

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12:41PM PST on Mar 5, 2009

For someone who was on verge of issuing IOU"S to her citizens because she could not fund her state, seems far fetched to me to let someone operate on a grander scale. Maybe if she had been more diligent with the money in Kansas i'd might then be able to agree she was the proper choice. Rewarding someone on this level be it male or female is just not right.

5:53AM PST on Mar 4, 2009

Deborah obviously enjoys a very good healthcare policy GOD BLESS You, but I would guess that Deborah mostly likely has never been without such ccoverage as well. And that is wonderful for you and your loved ones. I am sorry to be so blunt here, but there is a complete disconnect with the relality of the average American's daily sitiuation in the suggestion that health care reform can wait.

I recall local professionals where I lived durring the Clinton era forcasting a doom and gloom senario for the health care industry from the inside (much like what has hit wall street recently) if reform did not soon come... BACK THEN.

Health care is in more dire straights than wall street in actuallity, but the cost after all is only the lives of middle class and poor Americans and ooooooh illegals (but they don't have a right to life anyway do they? SARCASIM dark as it may be). Perhaps it's not as glaring as it might be because of the many altruistically minded service providers taking it on the chin to DO THE RIGHT THING AND help as many of these folks as they posibly can.

I hope that Kathleen is up to the fight. It sounds like she's been there and done that already in Kansas. She will need every bit of that experience and then some. They are attempting to topple some of the tallest and strongest of ivory towers and these have not been weakened as much as others recently like the banks. Their arrogance has not been shaken... YET... Best of luck to her and GOD's SPEED.

4:39AM PST on Mar 4, 2009

Actually, bringing womens' income on a parity with men's should come even before health reform. We perform just as well as men on the job, if not better, especially jobs requiring qualities and values that women have over men.

As a Kansan, I am very happy to see Kathleen Sebelius chosen for this post. In fact, the moment Obama was announced the winner of the election last November, I was pretty sure that somehow Governor Sebelius would somehow end up as Health and Human Services Secretary. She has always been a champion of the vulnerable and downtrodden, and been able and willing to stand up to the Republicans in the state legislature. Republicans, as we all know, hate equality in every form. They do not want certain groups and classes of people to have health insurance coverage at all, and they do not want women to ever enjoy pay equity with men. I see Republicans as the Neanderthals of civil rights and human rights. In the Kansas legislature, the Republicans always seem to vote selfishly, but that seems to be the case in most, if not all state legislatures, and certainly, the United States Senate and Congress, as well.

3:25PM PST on Mar 3, 2009

I couldn't agree more with your points about women and health care.

Until recently, I was not familiar with Kathleen Sebelius, but I'm very hopeful that she can accomplish what we have failed to do thus far -- push reform that will provide affordable and accessible health care for all.

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