Sebelius: As Insurance Commissioner, I Saw Rationing Of Care ‘On A Regular Basis By Private Insurers’

Today, the Senate HELP committee held confirmation hearings for Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D-KS) to head the Department of Health and Human Services. Sebelius sparred with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) — who proposed the administration adopt his hackneyed campaign health care plan — and pushed back against Republican concerns that comparative effectiveness research would tie doctors’ hands:

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Sebelius stressed that as insurance commissioner in Kansas, she fought private insurer efforts to ration care:

I can’t tell you that I’m not concerned, ultimately, not with comparative effectiveness research but ultimately reaching a point where in order to control costs there is some effort to ration health care. I frankly, as insurance commissioner where I served for eight years saw it on a regular basis by private insures, who often made decisions overruling suggestions that doctors would make for their patients that they weren’t going to be covered. And a lot of what we did in the office of the Kansas Insurance Department was to go to bat for those patients to make sure that the benefits they had actually paid for were ones that were delivered.