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HHS Nominee On Track For Confirmation By Senate

ERICA WERNER

WASHINGTON (AP) ¿ Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius stepped around potential land mines on abortion and her own tax errors Thursday as she testified at a hearing en route to her expected confirmation as health and human services secretary.

Sebelius was not asked any questions about abortion, an issue that's caused loud complaints from conservative groups angered about her vetoes of some abortion restrictions and the presence of a prominent abortion doctor at a reception at the governor's residence.

Nor was Sebelius asked about what she has called "unintentional errors" related to charitable deductions, mortgage interest and business expenses on her most recent tax returns. She has paid nearly $8,000 in taxes and penalties.

Instead of focusing on those topics, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., tried to pin Sebelius down on the key question of whether every American should be required to buy health insurance.

In dodging his question, Sebelius said that she and President Barack Obama believe that all Americans should have insurance ¿ even though Obama's campaign proposal required just children to be covered. She avoided endorsing Baucus' call for making all people legally responsible for becoming insured.

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