Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius is reportedly the top candidate for the job of Department of Health and Human Services secretary, the New York Times reported Feb. 19.
Sebelius, a supporter of President Barack Obama, is a Democrat in a largely Republican state who has a strong record of bipartisanship. Before becoming governor, she served for eight years as Kansas' insurance commissioner.
The Obama administration began vetting new candidates for the HHS job after former Senator Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination because of controversy over unpaid taxes. Administration officials reportedly are taking extra time checking the background of Sebelius and other HHS candidates to avoid repeat problems.
“All signs indicate that she would be a terrific choice,” said Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), who chairs a House health subcommittee. Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, said that Sebelius “knows health care as well as any governor in the United States,” while America's Health Insurance Plans head Karen Ignagni said Sebelius “has a good intellect, a big heart and tremendous expertise.”