- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Yeas, nays for Sebelius

President Obama’s decision to nominate Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius for Health and Human Services secretary mostly was greeted with applause from health care advocacy groups, unions and the health care industry.

But it was scorned by abortion opponents.

The Family Research Council, a conservative Christian think tank, said Mrs. Sebelius’ support of abortion rights is an affront to family values.

“FRC Action will work to oppose Governor Sebelius’ appointment and continue to work with those who truly wish to stop the blight of abortion,” said Tony Perkins, president of FRC Action, the legislative arm of Family Research Council.

The National Black Pro-Life Union said, “There are many other qualified Americans who can better serve our country as HHS secretary than Governor Sebelius.”

“The recent nomination of Governor Kathleen Sebelius to the position of HHS secretary is further proof of the Obama administration’s ties to the radical abortion industry and Planned Parenthood,” said the group’s president, Day Gardner.

Mrs. Sebelius, a Democrat, isn’t expected to get too much opposition during the confirmation process.

“Governor Sebelius is deeply committed to achieving high-quality, affordable health care for all Americans, and her knowledge about health care issues makes her ideally suited for this new leadership role,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of the liberal Families USA. He called Mrs. Sebelius, a Democrat, an “excellent choice.”

Anna Burger, international secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union said Mrs. Sebelius’ record of promoting health care issues while governor gives her sufficient experience to head HHS.

National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC) President Dan Leonard on Sunday congratulated the Kansas Democrat. However, he added that if her nomination is approved by the Senate, she faces a challenging job overseeing a diverse collection of agencies such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Mr. Leonard also cautioned Mrs. Sebelius to “proceed with transparency and input from each stakeholder” while spending the $1.1 billion allocated by the economic stimulus package to comparative effectiveness research — a federal program that sifts through millions of patient medical records to determine which medicines and treatments work best.

“There are still many unanswered questions about the type of research that should be conducted and how health care decision-makers would use the information generated,” Mr. Leonard said. “We stand ready to help address these issues.”

Skipping out on health care

More than half of American households have skimped on medical care in the past year because of financial difficulties, according to a new study released this week.

The Kaiser Family Foundation found 53 percent of those surveyed said they or a family member living with them have postponed or skipped medical treatments because of cost in the past 12 months.

“Experts and policymakers have multiple agendas in health reform, but when half the public reports skimping on care because they can’t afford it, it’s very clear that what the public wants most from health reform is relief from health care costs,” said Kaiser President and Chief Executive Drew Altman.

Thirty-five percent said they turned to home remedies and over-the-counter drugs rather than visiting a doctor, and 34 percent said they skipped dental care.

Twenty-seven percent reported putting off health care they needed, while 21 percent said they have not filled a prescription.

The report also showed that 15 percent of respondents said they cut pills in half or skipped doses to make their prescriptions last longer.

Say no

When the House last week passed the $410 billion “omnibus” supplemental spending bill, the package included $14 million less for one of former President George W. Bush’s favorite programs: abstinence-only sex education.

The program’s annual budget peaked at about $170 million during the second Bush administration. The package still calls for spending about $95 million for the program for the rest of fiscal 2009, which ends Sept. 30.

However, many Democrats, health care professionals and educators — who say the program is a waste of money because it fails to teach teens about other forms of birth control and about safe sexual practices — say the proposed budget is still too large.

Sean Lengell covers health care policy and can be reached at [email protected]

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide