Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning from the Obama administration. The embattled official oversaw the rollout of the Affordable Care Act — sometimes referred to as Obamacare — for the administration. She was also at the center of the controversy surrounding the botched launch of the healthcare law’s insurance exchange website, according to Fox News.
Republicans had been calling for her resignation for months following the technical problems of the website. According to White House officials, though, Sebelius waited until early March to notify the president of her plans to leave.
A New York Times story indicates that Sebelius felt that following the March 31 deadline for the public to enroll in the healthcare exchanges would provide an opportunity to resign. She told the president at that time that rising enrollment numbers would likely mean the administration would hit its goal of 7 million enrollees. Following that success, she felt, would be a good time to allow for a transition to new leadership.
“What was clear is that she thought that it was time to transition the leadership to somebody else,” White House chief of staff, Denis McDonough, said. “She’s made clear in other comments publicly that she recognizes that she takes a lot of the incoming. She does hope — all of us hope — that we can get beyond the partisan sniping.”
USA Today reports President Obama will formally announce the resignation at 11 a.m. Friday at the White House. At that announcement he is expected to name Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell as his nominee to replace Sebelius.
“The president wants to make sure we have a proven manager and relentless implementer in the job over there, which is why he is going to nominate Sylvia,” McDonough said.
Burwell’s nomination will have to be confirmed by the Senate.
It seems the resignation and new nomination will do little to silence Republican hatred for the healthcare law. Following the news of Sebelius’ resignation many took the opportunity to heap on more criticism.
"Secretary Sebelius oversaw a disastrous rollout of Obamacare, but anyone can see that there are more problems on the way," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said. "The next HHS Secretary will inherit a mess -- Americans facing rising costs, families losing their doctors, and an economy weighed down by intrusive regulations. No matter who is in charge of HHS, Obamacare will continue to be a disaster and will continue to hurt hardworking Americans."
That’s the kind of talk Sebelius hoped her departure would end for the country. She told the New York Times she hoped her leaving would usher in a more cooperative period.
“If I could take something along with me,” she said, it would be “all the animosity.”