Cabinet Profile Kathleen Sebelius

Department of Health & Human Services

Kathleen Sebelius


President Obama nominated Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas to be his secretary for health and human services, after his first choice for the post, former Sen. Tom Daschle, withdrew his name from consideration over unpaid taxes. The Obama administration will rely heavily on Sebelius' experience as a governor from a deeply red state as it pushes to attract bipartisan support for its plans to overhaul the country's health care system.

As governor of Kansas from 2002-2009, Sebelius worked to balance her state's budget, increase funding for early childhood and kindergarten programs and proposed providing health insurance to every Kansas child from birth to age five (a proposal that failed). She was selected as one of the country's top governors in a 2005 Time magazine poll. She also served in the Kansas House of Representatives and as the state's insurance commissioner. As commissioner, Sebelius blocked a proposed merger between Blue Cross & Blue Shield and an Indiana healthcare company.

Sebelius has been married to her husband, Gary, a federal magistrate, for 34 years. The couple has two sons. Sebelius is the daughter of John Gilligan, the governor of Ohio from 1971-1975.

Sebelius was confirmed by the Senate and took her new post on April 28, 2009.

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