Washington, DC, United States (4E) – President Barack Obama has accepted the resignation of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and will name Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell as her replacement on Friday, according to the White House.
Sebelius’ resignation comes as she reported Thursday to the Senate Finance Committee that 7.5 million people had enrolled in private health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, half a million more than what the Congressional Budget Office projected for the first year of Obamacare.
White House officials said Sebelius, 65, tendered here resignation last month amid continuing Republican criticisms of the problematic rollout of the Obamacare in October, when the federal Healthcare.gov website suffered technical glitches that prevented consumers from enrolling online. Republican lawmakers also called for her resignation but Obama defended her by saying she is not an IT person.
Sebelius was not forced out of her job at HHS rather she suggested to Obama in talks with the president last month to transition the department’s leadership to someone who is not the target of intense political ire, said Denis R. McDonough, the White House chief of staff.
Sebelius is leaving HHS with achievements such as ending pre-existing conditions as a bar to insurance. She also worked to allow young people to stay on their parents’ insurance, reduce the growth of health care costs, helped push through mental health parity in insurance plans and worked with the Department of Education to promote early childhood education.
Meanwhile, Burwell, 48, is seen by the president as qualified to manage the HHS as the OMB is deeply involved in developing and carrying out health care policy, McDonough said. The West Virginia native is educated in Harvard and Oxford with a background in economic policy. Her mother, Cleo, is the former mayor of her hometown, Hinton, W.Va.