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Kathleen Sebelius: Secretary of Health and Human Services

Biography

By

Kathleen Sebelius

Kathleen Sebelius

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Kathleen Sebelius is currently serving as Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Obama. Sebelius served two terms as governor of Kansas, first being elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2006.

Relevant Experience
Before being elected governor of Kansas, Sebelius served as Kansas Insurance Commission from 1995-2003. During her campaign for Insurance Commissioner, Sebelius refused to take contributions from the insurance industry. As commissioner, she blocked a controversial merger between Blue Cross of Kansas and another insurance company. As governor, Sebelius spearheaded the Healthy Kansas Initiative. Sebelius also initiated state health care reforms including adoption incentives, health services for pregnant women and sex education programs. Sebelius’ administration credited these health care reforms with an 8.5 percent decrease in abortions statewide during her two terms as governor.

Confirmation Controversy
During her Senate Confirmation hearings, Sebelius admitted to making "unintentional errors" in her federal tax returns, for which she paid $8,000 in back taxes. The errors involved over-reported deductions for charitable contributions, home sales and business expenses.

Confirmation
The full Senate confirmed Sebelius’ appointment by a vote of 65-31 on April 28, 2009.

Early Life and Education
Sebelius was born Kathleen Gilligan in Cincinnati, Ohio. She attended the Summit Country Day School in Cincinnati, followed by Trinity Washington University in Washington, D.C. She later earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Kansas.

Family
Sebelius is married to K. Gary Sebelius a federal magistrate judge. The couple has two sons.

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