Federal Relations

Sebelius Nomination Draws Fire but Advances

The nomination of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) advanced out of the Senate Finance Committee yesterday, leaving only a vote of the full Senate. What was once expected to be a rather comfortable confirmation has evolved into a rather partisan debate over President Obama’s intentions in reforming the U.S. health insurance system. Conservatives on the panel sought assurances — which they did not receive — from Governor Sebelius that HHS would not seek a plan that limited consumer choice of doctor, hospital, or coverage options. Despite the reservations expressed by some members, the Senate Finance Committee approved the nomination on a largely party line 15-8 vote. Consideration of the nomination by the full Senate could take place later this week.