The media is repeating the lines of Sebelius being “bi-partisan” and “reforming Kansas health care” — but this does not make it true.
Sebelius is a two-term Democratic governor who successfully pushed to expand subsidized health-care for children in her largely Republican state. If confirmed by the Senate, Sebelius, 60, will take over a department whose Medicare health plan for the elderly and disabled and Medicaid health program for the poor insures about one in three people.
What Sebelius did was expand the eligibility of the S-Chip program to those in the middle class: it expands eligibility to 250% of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that means families can make $52,000 and sign on to government-funded health care. When the legislature voted to approve this massive expansion of government welfare, at least one financially secure Kansas lawmaker openly told his colleagues, “I qualify for this.”
Hawaii recently reversed course, undoing similar welfare expansion after finally recognizing that their legislation resulted in citizens taking advantage of the system. Hawaiians who could afford private health insurance did what made short-term economic sense: they signed up for “free” government medical care.