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Hoffa Praises Sebelius Pick for HHS Secretary

Teamsters President Says Kansas Governor A Leader in Fight for Quality Health Care For All

WASHINGTON, March 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa issued the following statement today regarding President Obama's announcement that he is nominating Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services:

"I am extremely pleased that President Obama nominated Gov. Sebelius as HHS Secretary.

"Candidate Obama promised he'd make health insurance affordable and accessible to all. President Obama took a big step toward making good on that promise by nominating Gov. Sebelius as HHS Secretary.

"Many Teamsters are already familiar with Gov. Sebelius. At our last Unity Conference, she made it clear that she's on the side of working families.

"Gov. Sebelius is a strong leader who's willing and able to fight the tough battle for comprehensive health care reform. She has a terrific record as a staunch advocate for health care consumers.

"As governor, she streamlined health care programs and promoted prevention and wellness. Most recently she budgeted some of the stimulus money that Kansas received to add about 8,000 kids to the state's Children's Health Insurance Program.

"As Kansas insurance commissioner from 1994-2002, she refused to accept contributions from the insurance industry.

"She blocked a merger between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas and Anthem, a for-profit health care conglomerate. The merger would have significantly raised premiums for Kansans.

"She also went after HMOs that denied care to patients and advocated cheaper prescription drugs for seniors.

"The high cost of health care in the United States is putting our workers at a competitive disadvantage to workers in other developed countries, where universal health care is the norm. Our system is so inefficient we spend more per person on health care than any other developed country, but there are still 47 million people who don't have health insurance.

"There's no question that this is a tough problem. Solving it will be an uphill battle. But I'm confident that Gov. Sebelius is the right person for the job."

SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters
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