FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Sebelius (D-KS), nominee to head HHS: Another Lobbyist to the Obama Administration
Update 3/31/09 by Jeff: Ho, hum, it appears Gov. Sebelius is yet another Obama nominee with a tax problem.
Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius (Democrat), fresh off a losing battle against the GOP-led state legislature to solve the state budget crisis by incurring more debt while keeping expenditures exorbitant, has been selected by President Obama to head up the department of Health and Human Services. Given the amount of time between the February 3 withdrawal of Obama’s first choice for the post, former Senator and health care rationing advocate Tom Daschle (D-SD), it certainly appears that Sebelius was a very, very distant second choice (if that) to fill the empty cabinet position.
The reason she was a distant second for the post, though, probably (based on President Obama’s track record of nominees to date) had little or nothing to do with a reluctance to nominate yet another lobbyist to his cabinet.
Before being elected state Insurance Commissioner, Sebelius was executive director and chief lobbyist for the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association (an organization which has since dropped the accurate title for the more obfuscative “Kansas Association for Justice”). She continued protecting the state Trial Lawyers Association’s interests as Governor, using her veto power in 2007 to kill SB 55, a tort reform measure aimed directly at lowering health care costs by providing partial protection to health care professionals in the wake of a state Supreme Court ruling “that physicians and other health care providers could be sued under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act for disputes over the care and treatment of patients.”
This move not, made in the face of warnings from the Kansas Hospital Association that “allowing [such] claims for conduct which is already covered under the traditional medical malpractice system will result in increased and duplicative litigation, increased defense costs, increased medical malpractice insurance expenses, and, ultimately, an increase in the cost of medical care,” only hints at a conflict of interest given her trial lawyer-lobbyist background, but shows that she has no interest whatsoever in actually bringing health care costs down and making quality care more affordable to the people of her state or, by extension, the country.
Ah, well. As Carter Wood at Point of Law says, “Well, it’s not as if any health care reform package coming out of the Obama Administration was going to embrace medical malpractice reform,” anyway.