Move over Hilary, forget it Gates, a new sheriff is on the way. Her name, Kathleen Sebilius. One of the by products, by design or not, who knows, will give the HHS secretary quite a bit more clout than she now possesses.
Traditionally, the HHS Secretary is not headed by a household name, either when their term begins or when they are done. Try naming the most famous or notable occupant of the position. Not easy is it? How about even naming her predecessor? It was Utah’s own Moon Landrieu. Probably the office’s most celebrated occupant harks back to when it was Health, Education and Welfare. That would be our friend Jack Kemp.
But, if the health care bill lurching along through the Senate becomes law, Secretary Sebilius is poised not only to become very well-known but also significantly more influential than she now is.
According to an article in the Washington Examiner by Susan Ferrechio, HHS would become a “giant” federal powerhouse. Devon Herrick is a health care expert at the National center for Policy Analysis. He says that there are almost 1,700 (1,697) times in the bill when the when the HHS secretary is given leeway to create, define or determine things in the bill. Seems that HHS will have quite a bit of wiggle room to interpret things in the bill. He cites an example or two. One of the biggies, perhaps the biggest, gives HHS the authority to regulate insurance, currently a state function. The feds would no doubt perform all sort of wondrous things to improve the insurance system or maybe just regulate it death. Who really knows? Here is another. HHS would be empowered to create a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation which could make cost savings cuts on its own without the approval of Congress. Sounds just peachy. This is just one of a potentially large number of new government agencies that are likely to arise. And remember, this bill is revenue neutral. Riiight!!
I have got to wonder if Hilary maybe would be interested in a do over on this Cabinet position stuff. She would have a lot more power as HHS secretary than she now has. Besides, I seem to remember that health care reform was once her bailiwick.
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