April 11 2014
Patrice J. Lee
The most public face of ObamaCare (other than its namesake) is Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and she resigned yesterday.
A little over one week after the President declared victory in getting 7 million people to sign up for ObamaCare, Sebelius tendered her resignation, which in Washington, D.C. often means you’ve been asked to leave. This follows about six months of firestorm following the botched rollout of the ObamaCare exchange website and the first open enrollment period that began last October and ended last week.
The President will announce Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the current director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace Sebelius at the helm. Like Sebelius, Burwell has no technical or extensive health-care policy experience, she’s known for her management experience serving as a Democratic appointee, manager, staffer and aide dating back to the Clinton days.
Sebelius presided over what may go down in history as the worst rollout of a federal program to date. The perennially broken healthcare.gov website and its Spanish sister site, issues with transferring data to insurers, recruitment of ObamaCare workers are convicted criminals, the horrible PR campaign that gave us brosurance ads and pajama boy, and myriad delays, changes, and abandonments of healthcare law are just some of the mishaps with the rollout of ObamaCare.
The Hill reports:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning, ending a tumultuous tenure as the public face of the Affordable Care Act. President Obama will nominate his budget director on Friday as her successor, according to White House officials.
Sebelius entered the Cabinet in 2009, three months into Obama’s presidency, as a well-regarded former governor of conservative Kansas. She is leaving after months of intense criticism over the botched rollout in the fall of the insurance marketplace.
During the firestorm, Obama made clear to his aides that he would not seek the resignation of his health secretary, and her departure is timed to brighter news for the White House as enrollment soared late last month.
Still, some White House allies said Thursday night that the troubled launch of HealthCare.gov had heightened tensions between Sebelius and the president’s staff members, who had become increasingly mistrustful of the department she led. Some Democrats, meanwhile, had argued privately that someone should be held accountable for the problems with the federal insurance exchange.
On October 1st when the website launched and crashed, Sebelius instantly became the face of that failure and the rightful target of criticism. It’s now apparent that she was in over her head from the start, but she was also given an impossible task. As the Daily Caller puts it, neither she nor the president established a top-level program manager with enough clout to enforce cooperation among multiple rival government agencies. And the President’s policy of delaying unpopular but critical decisions until after the 2012 election stymied development of the technology.
Sebelius’s departure is a welcome step, but barely the start.
As a reminder, Sebelius was delegated the task of implementing ObamaCare. She didn’t birth that baby, but she’s just been the wet nurse.
The real culprits are the architects of ObamaCare and the President himself. ObamaCare costs more than predicted, raises the costs of healthcare, has created millions of uninsured Americans, and will cover less previously uninsured Americans than predicted.
The inherent flaws with ObamaCare and its harmful repercussions on the health industry, the job market, and the economy won’t magically disappear tomorrow now that Sebelius has stepped down. Those are here to stay –unless our leaders work to dismantle it.