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Sebelius steps down

US Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Official Washington Portrait (public domain)

Embattled US Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has tendered her resignation. The move has been expected for some time, particularly after she came under fire for the tumultuous rollout of Obamacare last October. Sebelius was one of the program’s earliest supporters, and played a key part in getting the Affordable Healthcare Act passed into law, “working tirelessly to implement it successfully,” commented executive director of Families USA Ron Pollack. “We owe her an enormous debt of gratitude for her excellent work in improving health care for families across America.”

Not everyone, however, shares his opinion, particularly Capital Hill Republicans who accused her of either “covering up” or not knowing about the troubles and computer glitches that hampered enrollment from October to December last year. While she took the blame for the problems during a congressional hearing on October, her supporters are quick to point out that by the time open enrollment ended this past March, a total of “7.5 million Americans signed up for private health plans via new online marketplaces,” exceeding original government expectations.

Before joining Obama’s cabinet, Sebelius, 65, served as the Governor of Kansas, following in her father’s political footsteps. Although John “Jack” Gilligan was a Democratic Governor of Ohio (where she was born May 15, 1948), her election made them the first father/daughter governor pair in the country. It should also be noted that Time Magazine named her as “one of the five best governors in America for eliminating a $1.1 billion debt she inherited, ferreting out waste in state government, and strongly supporting public education – all without raising taxes, although she proposed raising sales, property, and income taxes.” The article also gave her kudos for being able to work well with the Republican controlled Legislature in Kansas despite being a Democrat.

Sebelius’s current position is expected to go to Sylvia Matthews Burwell, 48, currently Director of the Office of Management and Budget, pending Congressional approval.