Kathleen Sebelius is out as Health and Human Services Secretary, according to Bloomberg News, after being at the center of months of criticism of President Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act.
Sebelius announced her resignation Thursday after serving for five years as part of the President’s original Cabinet from his first term. She has presided over the debacle of the enrollment website and the disastrous roll-out of Obamacare, a law which 58% of American voters view unfavorably, according to Rasmussen.
Kathleen Sebelius has apologized for the mess created by the website, which resulted in months of frustration among people trying to sign up. The White House reportedly has not forced her out, but the Sebelius name is inextricably connected to the roll-out glitches, a situation which became the brunt of late night comedy and social media jokes.
The President has accepted Ms. Sebelius’ resignation, and her formal resignation will be announced Friday. Though some around Sebelius were surprised, her decision has not come as a shock. White House chief of staff, Denis R. McDonough, reports that Kathleen Sebelius began discussing her future and the possibility of change last month with the President, indicating that the administration might be better served by someone without such a cloud of “political ire” surrounding them.
Apparently Sebelius felt that the March 31 sign-up deadline for Obamacare provided the opportune time to make that change. “What was clear is that she thought that it was time to transition the leadership to somebody else,” according to Mr. McDonough.
That “somebody else” replacing Sebelius looks to be Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, according to the New York Times. Mr. Obama is expected to nominate Burwell Friday. She is known as “the woman who ordered the government shutdown” in October 2013.
Kathleen Sebelius was not Mr. Obama’s first choice for Health and Human Services Director. Former Senator Tom Daschle was the original pick, but he bowed out of consideration for the post after it came to light that he had several years of unpaid taxes to address.
It is unclear what Kathleen Sebelius’ plans are next. After months of being in the midst of controversy and criticism, she may be relieved to be out of the bulls eye. “If I could take something along with me,” Sebelius said, it would be “all the animosity. If that could just leave with me, and we could get to a new chapter, that would be terrific.”
[image via Bing]