Yesterday President Obama announced his nomination of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services, and his appointment of Nancy-Ann DeParle as Counselor to the President and Director of the White House Office for Health Reform.
Governor Sebelius is an experienced state leader, with a proven track record in health matters. Before her election as governor, she served eight years as Kansas' insurance commissioner. In both roles she has had extensive involvement in health insurance issues.
HHS is the largest cabinet department, and it is a huge management and leadership challenge. In the 80s and 90s, I headed two of the agencies within HHS first, the Health Care Financing Administration (now called the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), and later the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HHS also includes the National Institutes for Health and the Food and Drug Administration, and others.
Nancy-Ann DeParle is a proven leader in health and health care. I am pleased to say she is a close personal friend of mine.
She served with distinction as a Tennessee state government cabinet head, a senior official in the federal Office of Management and Budget, and then she also headed the Health Care Financing Administration.
Over the past eight years, she has been a very successful leader in the health business community. I have served with her on two corporate boards, and we are also on the board of trustees of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
I believe President Obama has made very wise choices with these two appointments. The country very much needs for them to be successful in their important tasks.