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Sebelius soldiers on as face of healthcare law

The Kansas City Star/McClatchy Newspapers, May 26, 2011

Throughout her two years as the secretary of health and human services, Kathleen Sebelius' toughest challenge has been to shoulder the defense -- and weather the political blows -- of the biggest expansion of America's healthcare system in half a century. "I cannot overstate the pressure she was under during the healthcare debate, yet she handled it with aplomb and the facts," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA. "She doesn't engage in hyperbole. She's calm. She reflects the no-drama-Obama kind of approach." A year after the 10-year, $1.1 trillion overhaul passed without a single Republican vote, it remains a deep and divisive fault line in American politics. Bridging it seems out of the question. Opposition to "Obamacare" is the price of admission to being taken seriously in Republican circles. Sebelius' critics remain implacable. "I'm not pleased, frankly, with her performance," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, who opposed her nomination.