It's Sebelius for HHS

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius will be the new chief of HHS. I think she's a far better choice than Tom Daschle.

Here's some background on her. The announcement will be made Monday.

Update: Sebelius has accepted the nomination.

< Budget: $26.5 Billion for DOJ, a 3.5% Increase | Rockefeller Drug Laws: Big Changes Ahead >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Zeke Emmanuel for White House Healthcare Czar? (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by caseyOR on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 07:25:17 PM EST
    I've read that Rahm's big brother, Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel, will be appointed to the position of WH Healthcare Czar, which was the other role Daschle was supposed to play. Zeke is already an advisor to Peter Orszag.

    I believe that single-payer healthcare, along the lines of Medicare-for-All (HR 676) is the only way to solve our healthcare crisis. Since Zeke disagrees with me, I am not happy that he is anywhere near the WH when healthcare is discussed.

    Zeke, who is a respected oncologist and on staff at the NIH, wrote a book touting vouchers as the solution to healthcare.

    Well, vouchers worked great in the schools (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by lambert on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 08:59:15 PM EST
    so I'm sure they'll work just as well in health care. Of course, Zeke thinks the fundamental moral issue is health insurance, when the fundamental issue is health care, but why hold that against him?

    Exactly - Health INSURANCE is the problem. (none / 0) (#16)
    by allimom99 on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 10:55:56 AM EST
    The business model of the insurance compnies is that they make money by DENYING care, not providing it. It's no coincidence that you see parallels in education.

    There are a few things that shouldn't be subject to the profit motive, even in a capitalist society. Public safety, public education, healthcare. To get the best results requires that we not think about making a profit. Government is NOT a business, and can't be run properly with such a mindset.


    That's exactly right (none / 0) (#18)
    by NYShooter on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 06:17:50 PM EST
    I've asked over and over again, "what kind of country do we want to be? What is a `right' a citizen of a great democracy should expect?"
    We have a "right" to be protected from invaders, foreign and domestic; a "right" to clean air and water; a "right" to vote, to have our day in court, etc." That we don't have a "right," paid for by our tax dollars to health care is as much an affront to our claim of being a moral country as slavery once was. The U.S. Marines don't operate on a profit motive; neither should providing decent health care.

    The rest of the civilized world agrees with me;

    There is no defensible argument; cased closed.


    Well casey, I had to educate myself on (none / 0) (#4)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 09:36:26 PM EST
    healthcare vouchers. I like the idea of everyone being covered but his plan seems to only cover basic services. We would have to purchase insurance outside the program for high technology services like MRI's?

    Worst of all, it would be funded by a Value Added Tax. Ugh. Even exempting food and utilities, I think it is very regressive no matter what Zeke says. I would much rather pay an income tax than a VAT for healthcare. He'll never convince me that a VAT would raise as much money without severely hurting the poor. It seems from his article that he thinks Republicans will go for the VAT but not an income tax. That's just giving up without fighting for it.


    No way there's going to be a VAT in America (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by andgarden on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 09:51:56 PM EST
    He seems to think it would go through (none / 0) (#7)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 10:09:52 PM EST
    (the article was written in 2005 so maybe he's changed his mind). I can't see it either. He wrote that article and he said prices would go up 8-10%.

    The only way I could see it would be to exempt every basic item possible and then have a higher tax on luxury items. So, you might as well just have an income tax.

    I read earlier today that someone from the Clinton administration is being considered for that job anyway. I can't remember her name. It might be in one of Jeralyn's links.


    A regressive tax (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by caseyOR on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:23:37 PM EST
    Just what we need, another regressive tax. I suspect that a VAT to fund this very minimal health insurance plan would provide even more fodder for people who want to gut Social Security. They will be chomping at the bit to discredit the payroll tax. This plan will not go well for anyone but the rich, (or Congress, which has that nifty federal insurance).

    And what will a VAT do to state revenue sources from sales tax? How much flexibility will states have with their sales tax if the feds are adding 8-10% on top of every purchase?

    Teresa, you know that the tax will not fall more heavily on the rich and purchasers of luxury goods. It will be yet another burden on people just trying to keep body and soul together.

    Let's hope Obama doesn't decide to go with Zeke's plan. I fear Dems will not unite to oppose him on this.


    I think there would be a huge uproar. (none / 0) (#9)
    by Teresa on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 11:47:47 PM EST
    We have no income tax in TN but the sales tax where I live is 9.5% (even on food!). Can you imagine going to buy school clothes for your kids and adding 19% or so in taxes?

    I think the doctor brother needs to talk to the politician brother before he tries something like that. It may not be him anyway. I don't understand what is wrong with an income tax, do you? If people add up their cost of insurance, their co-pays, etc., most of us would be better off. At least the ones without good employer insurance but that's just a trade off in lower wages.


    Here's an abstract from 2007 (none / 0) (#10)
    by nycstray on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 12:26:13 AM EST
    ABSTRACT  The Universal Healthcare Voucher System (UHV) achieves universal health coverage by entitling all Americans to a standard package of benefits comparable to that received by federal employees. Enrollment and renewal are guaranteed regardless of health status, as is the individual's right to buy additional services beyond the standard benefits with aftertax dollars. Health plans would receive a risk-adjusted payment based on their enrollment. UHV is funded entirely by a dedicated value-added tax (VAT) with the rate set by Congress. A VAT of approximately 10 to 12 percent would insure all Americans under age 65 at a cost no greater than current public and private health care expenditures.


    Don't fed employees have a fairly generous package? The cost would have to be far below today's private health care costs (he's talking insurance, right?)for it to be at all available to everyone. 10-12% VAT?! Ouch.

    Be interesting to know what he considers "comparable", "additional services beyond standard" and "affordable" (even though he doesn't mention it).


    Maybe I missed it, but (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by caseyOR on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 01:10:32 AM EST
    I didn't see anything that spells out what, if any, limits would be placed on deductibles and co-pays. And how would the HCV program limit rising premiums? Or would it?

    My reading of Zeke's proposal is that it is still dependent on private, for-profit insurance companies. That is a big problem. We can no longer afford to have health care controlled by insurance companies whose primary gaol is to make money for their shareholders. We need a plan whose primary purpose is to provide health care to all of the American people, regardless of income or job status.

    For profit healthcare is a failed model.


    I downloaded the pdf (none / 0) (#12)
    by nycstray on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 01:58:17 AM EST
    but my eyes are too tired to read through it right now. Scanning the front page says this would eventually replace public insurance, phase out medicare/caid, schip. Relies on private insurance.

    That's right, get rid of Medicare. (none / 0) (#13)
    by caseyOR on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 02:26:20 AM EST
    It is only the most efficient healthcare program in the country. Why build on something we know works when we can waste people's money propping up a failed model. Hey, profit is the American way.

    I'm a bit annoyed tonight. This whole mess, this fake reform of the healthcare system, will not improve healthcare; it will improve the profit margins of the insurance companies. And the great Liberal Lion, Teddy himself, is helping to sell out the American public. Teddy used to support single-payer. What happened? It's Teddy's staff that has been quietly holding meetings with all the so-called stakeholders. Shockingly, the uninsured and the under insured are not considered stakeholders.


    Yeah, there's something about private (none / 0) (#14)
    by nycstray on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 02:43:56 AM EST
    insurers providing "the service" that makes me want to run screaming the other way. And our options will  be gone as they will no longer support employee insurance. Kinda reminds me of listening to a Repub forum on HC. It was all about forcing us to the mercy of private insurers. I'm betting this voucher proposal mentions somewhere that rates would go down because of competition /s

    Ok, this begs the late night stupid question . . .  if we are all entitled to the same "comparable" coverage . . . why do we need all these private insurers?


    Sebelius? will that move a repub (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by kenosharick on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 09:03:55 PM EST
    into the governorship there? I know there are very few popular Dems in Kansas, I would rather see her keep her spot or try for a senate seat. If HHS sec needs to take the lead (or play a leading role) in health care, what about Dick Gephardt? He should certainly understand how to deal with congress.

    True (none / 0) (#6)
    by Socraticsilence on Sat Feb 28, 2009 at 09:59:03 PM EST
    this is the only real drawback to this- she was my choice for VP, if you read her background she's done some incredible work converting Repubs to our side.

    The national stage is safe for KS again (none / 0) (#17)
    by ruffian on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 06:10:38 PM EST
    after Bobby Jindal replaced her as The Worst Opposing Party SOTU (or non-SOTU) Responder Ever.

    I wish her well.