Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Yay or Nay: Is Sebelius a good pick to lead HHS?

President Barack Obama yesterday announced his selection of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) to lead the Health and Human Services Department.

Sebelius, along with former Clinton administration official Nancy-Ann DeParle (who will head the newly created White House Office for Health Reform), will be tasked with executing the president's ambitious health care reform agenda (click here for EBN coverage on President Obama's health care proposals and how health benefits experts handicap the odds for passage). The president's budget sets aside $634 billion for health care reform.

On Sebelius' scorecard:
* She is a long-time advocate of universal coverage, but lost at several attempts to expand coverage to low-income and uninsured Kansans.
* She's worked to control state health care costs and encourage wellness by implementing an incentive program to get state employees to quit smoking.
* She served as her state's insurance commissioner for eight years, notably blocking the sale of BCBS of Kansas, and joining a multi-state group to purchase lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada.

So, what do you think? Is Sebelius a good pick to lead HHS -- yay or nay?


The Medical Quack said...

I actually made a post about the issue and my feelings are nothing personal, but I question do we have people at the top that have enough "specific" or first hand knowledge to handle the office responsibilities as it has changed tremendously over the years, not the same job it used to be.

I also watched the testimonies from health care executives at the Senate as posted on the web and was a bit disappointed in the knowledge of the consumer health system, i.e. very little knowledge of personal health records, which are for all of us, a consumer product, somewhat scared me in the fact that nobody had maybe done a quick internet search either on who offers them and what they are.

In my little opinion, we need some leaders to step up to the plate here and encourage others to participate and I just didn't see any of that so far.



Those are a couple of my posts on the topic, again nothing personal about anyone, but we need to stop functioning like a PC with no anti virus protection and get the education process wheels rolling everywhere to survive.

Anonymous said...

Most health records issues were resolved technically a long time ago. Remember Healtheon? No? That's disappointing, since it sprang from the same minds that created Netscape.

Records are a "consumer product" only to people who want complexity and to profit from waste.

IMO there are a few health insurance companies who are capable of properly administering for the govt (eg Cigna, Aetna, Kaiser), and that's ideal. Other than that, there's no worthwhile future role for health insurance companies, much less consultants.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the most important issue that has to be resolved is cost transparency. There is no other service or "purchase" that an employee makes that they don't know the cost up front, this includes prescriptions. There needs to be consumer input component also. Do you really think when Barbra Bush had her surgery she checked to see if her dr. was a network provider? I doubt it and we shouldn't have to either.

M lewis said...

Nay - it's as simple as that!

Steve said...

Yes, I do think Sebelius is a good pick to lead HHS. Way back last year, I was hoping that she would be Barack's VP, so I'm happy to see her be appointed to such an important post.

T. Murphy said...

In my opinion she is "qualified" because of her state administrative and health insurance background. Whether she will be effective is another question. I would hope that she avoid the "rush" to push everyone into a new system but, instead, apply relevant data, varied expert opinions, and prudence to deal first with the real problem - high costs. There are many effective approaches including a push toward a quality based system which will drive affordability and access. T. Murphy (www.managementandbeyond.com)