I guess that there was no way that they could blame this on George Bush! From The Wall Street Journal:
Kathleen Sebelius to Resign Health Post
Move Comes After Health-Insurance Enrollments Reached 7.5 Million
By Louise Radnofsky and Carol E. Lee | Updated April 10, 2014 11:53 p.m. ET
WASHINGTON—Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who led the government’s troubled rollout of the 2010 health-care law, will step down, her spokeswoman confirmed Thursday, capping a rocky five years in the Obama cabinet.
President Barack Obama was expected to announce on Friday that Mrs. Sebelius, 65 years old, will be succeeded by Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, according to senior administration officials.
Mrs. Sebelius’s departure came after months of speculation that she would resign over the shaky implementation of the Affordable Care Act. A wave of technical problems initially prevented consumers from buying insurance plans on HealthCare.gov, while millions of Americans had their plans canceled because they didn’t meet the law’s requirements.
The fallout became one of the greatest political liabilities of Mr. Obama’s presidency and is expected to shape November’s midterm elections.
Mrs. Sebelius appeared to be moving past that rough patch in recent weeks as insurance enrollments surged. On Thursday, she told lawmakers the administration believed at least 7.5 million people had picked plans through HealthCare.gov and similar state-run exchanges to date. That number exceeded prior enrollment projections.
More at the link.It’s not much of a surprise that Secretary Sebelius is leaving; it’s fairly rare for cabinet secretaries, regardless of whether the President is a Republican or Democrat, to stay for two full presidential terms. Now that Mrs Sebelius has taken the heat, her (probable) successor, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget, begins with a clean personal slate: she will be able to take credit for whatever successes HHS has, while Mrs Sebelius will still wind up with all of the blame. The Journal again:
Mrs Burwell has a low public profile but is one of the most experienced officials in the Obama White House. As a young graduate of Harvard University and Oxford University, she worked in the administration of President Bill Clinton, on the National Economic Council and in the Treasury Department before becoming deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget. She was a confidante and protégé of Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.
Mrs Burwell was the official who actually ordered the government shutdown in October of 2013. But even though President Obama said Mrs Burwell, when he nominated her for the position at OMB, was “part of a team that presided over three budget surpluses in a row,” she has since been part of the team which presided over the largest budget deficits in our history.
Mrs Burwell has a strong reputation as a problem solver, but she also has a reputation as someone who knows and understands business, yet is part of a very business unfriendly administration. Her baccalaureate degree from Oxford was in philosophy, politics and economics, but her economics are those of the President she serves . . . and his economic policies have been failures.
The problem was not Kathleen Sebelius, and the solution will not be Sylvia Burwell; the problem is with the entire notion that the federal government is responsible for seeing to it that the individual receives health care coverage. Perhaps Mrs Burwell can slightly ease the problems associated with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, but she will be unable to fix the philosophical problem which underpins the whole thing.