I just realized I've been misspelling the name of Obama's apparent new pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.
Spelling it with an "i" instead of an "e" as the second letter. Well,
I've got to get it right now, because it looks like I'll be referring
to her quite a bit. She'll have one of the largest portfolios of any
cabinet member, and certainly one of the most important.
Her appointment comes as no surprise,
but it's good news. Who will be the White House health czar then is the
question? Maybe Obama won't appoint one after all, since that was
perhaps a position cobbled up to give Daschle extra status in the
pursuit of universal health care. Pride goeth before destruction...
I first met Sebelius (the first daughter of a Governor--John Gilligan, Ohio, 1971-197--in U.S. history to be elected to that same position) early
in her her first term as governor. She attended a Planned Parenthood
event in Kansas City where I was speaking. As it happens, while I was
in Kansas for that visit, I was simultaneously juggling legal strategy
and national media in the wake of George Bush's signing of the federal
abortion ban earlier that day. Sweet quirk of fate this, as
RHRealityCheck reports on Sebelius's strong support for reproductive
health in "She's Not in Kansas Any More". Ah, what a difference a vote makes.
In the Obama ideal mold, Sebelius is
noted for bipartisanship. She had to be effectively bipartisan in her
reliably Republican state if she wanted to get anything accomplished.
I'm heartened that Obama is now talking
about health care more like Hillary Clinton did during the campaign
than like his own incremental approach that strained to avoid
antagonizing anyone but would not have covered everyone. Obama's
proposed spending plan sets aside a $634 billion dollar reserve fund and charges Congress with the task of reforming the health care system.
I've now written "Sebelius" six times
and still try to type in an "i" instead of "e". I'll keep practicing
because I think I'll be writing it numerous times over the next few
years. Though it appears she won't
have that health czar title, if confirmed, she'll certainly play a
pivotal role in the efforts to gain health coverage for the 46 million