NYT: Sebelius’s efforts to forge consensus on healthcare rarely succeed

sebeliusGov. Kathleen Sebelius has won praise from health insurance companies, consumer groups and even some Republican governors. But her history in Kansas has drawn a critical eye, according to a report in today’s New York Times.

“But on matters of health policy, which she will oversee if she is confirmed as President Obama’s secretary of health and human services, Ms. Sebelius’s efforts to forge bipartisan consensus have rarely succeeded. She recently observed that the greatest frustration of her six years in office had been her inability to persuade lawmakers to raise tobacco taxes for a modest expansion of government health coverage.”

The story focuses on health care policies in Kansas.

“Although the proportion of Kansans who are uninsured remains well below the national average — 12.7 percent versus 15.3 percent — it has grown seven times as fast in the state than in the nation during her tenure, according to census figures. Health insurance premiums in Kansas rank just below the national average and have increased at about the same rate as the nation’s, according to figures compiled by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The same was true during the previous eight years, when Ms. Sebelius served as state insurance commissioner.”