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Obama Picks Former NAIC President To Head HHS

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Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is the new Health and Human Services secretary-designate.

President Obama today announced that Sebelius, D, a former Kansas insurance commissioner, is his choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services.

“I know she will bring some much-needed grace and good humor to Washington, and she will be a tremendous asset to my cabinet,” Obama said in a statement. “Sebelius has a reputation for reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats and Republicans alike, while standing firm for what she believes in the face of pressure from special interests.”

Sebelius has been governor of Kansas since 2003, and she was the Kansas insurance commissioner from 1994 to 2002. She was president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Washington, in 2001.

Sebelius is the daughter of former Ohio Gov. John Gilligan, D.

In related news, Obama has named Nancy-Ann DeParle to run the White House Office for Health Reform. DeParle was director of the agency now known as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from 1997 to 2000.

Since leaving CMS, DeParle has been working in the health care private equity industry.

America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington, has put out a statement welcoming the nomination of Sebelius to be HHS secretary and the appointment of DeParle to head the White House health reform office.

“Today the president is putting in place a team that is ready on day one to provide the leadership necessary to achieve health care reform,” Ignagni says.