Sebelius Made Little Progress on Health in Partisan Kan.

Kansas guv could get another shot as health secretary
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 2, 2009 8:21 AM CST
In this 2008 file photo, then-Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama and Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, who endorsed Obama, greet supporters in Kansas City, Mo.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – As governor of Kansas, President Obama’s new pick for health secretary has plenty of experience working with Republicans—but little success pushing her health plans through the GOP-controlled legislature, the New York Times reports. If she is confirmed, she’ll have another chance to expand coverage in what could be the biggest boost in taxpayer-backed insurance in 40 years.

The percentage of uninsured in Kansas is lower than the national rate, but despite the governor’s “wonkish” health-policy chops, that number has grown at seven times the US average under Sebelius. Her biggest disappointment, she said, was the legislature’s rejection of her plan to expand coverage by raising tobacco taxes. Lawmakers also blocked a proposal for a new health agency and hampered efforts to extend kids’ coverage.