HHS' Kathleen Sebelius Steps Down

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Kathleen Sebelius is resigning as HHS secretary today, less than two weeks after the end of the first open enrollment period for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act exchanges, according to a report from The Hill.

Kathleen Sebelius official portraitMs. Sebelius' decision to step down after five years at the helm of HHS comes in the wake of a glitch-ridden rollout for the federal health insurance exchange website, HealthCare.gov. Following its launch in October, the site experienced numerous technical issues, such as people not being able to create accounts, frustrating consumers and drawing criticism from the healthcare reform law's opponents.

A federal repair effort significantly improved the site's functionality, and Ms. Sebelius announced this week that 7.5 million people have enrolled in health plans through both the federal and state-based exchanges, well beyond the Congressional Budget Office projection of 6 million, according to The Hill. Still, Ms. Sebelius acknowledged last fall that the site's launch was "flawed and unacceptable."

Republican lawmakers, including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), have called on her to resign over the technical problems that have plagued HealthCare.gov. Last October, Former White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley also pushed for Ms. Sebelius to leave HHS, saying the bumpy start for the federal exchange was a "big embarrassment."

Ms. Sebelius and the Obama administration stood firm against Republican lawmakers' demands for her firing. As recently as April 1, the White House maintained it had "full confidence" in Ms. Sebelius. However, a White House official told The Hill she informed President Obama in early March of her decision to leave her post. The official also said the president was "grateful" for her contributions, according to the report.

According to an HHS statement released to The Hill, Ms. Sebelius thinks of her work with the agency as "the most meaningful of her life," and she is "extremely thankful" to the president and "very proud" of what the administration has accomplished.

Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff, told The New York Times that Ms. Sebelius told the president it would be better to have someone running HHS who wasn't the target of so much political animosity. The president has nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, as the new HHS secretary.

More Articles on Kathleen Sebelius:
Sebelius Predicts Rise in Health Insurance Premiums in 2015
Tavenner, Sebelius Apologize for HealthCare.gov Snafus
Rep. Paul Ryan Joins Republicans Calling for Sebelius to Resign 

 

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