Mike Pence salutes Sebelius's 'professionalism'

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Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius received praise from an unlikely source on Wednesday, when conservative Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) commended her professionalism.

In a warm letter to Sebelius, Pence thanked the secretary for a recent meeting in which the two discussed alternative ways to pursue ObamaCare's expansion of Medicaid.

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Pence is courting the Obama administration with the hope of using federal funds under the healthcare law to grow a state-run program that provides health savings accounts to low-income patients.

"Thank you for the productive discussion," Pence wrote to Sebelius.

"I am pleased with the progress we made on our shared goal of providing high-quality health coverage to more low-income uninsured Hoosiers … I greatly appreciate the professionalism you and your team have demonstrated throughout your discussions with our team."

While hardly unusual for a governor seeking a federal waiver — Pence calls traditional Medicaid "deeply flawed" — the letter's tone is notable given most Tea Party conservatives' open disdain for Sebelius as chief implementer of ObamaCare.

Pence and Sebelius met to discuss Medicaid on Feb. 21 in Washington, D.C., when many governors were in town for a meeting of the National Governors Association.