Kathleen Sebelius has resigned as secretary of Health and Human Services after serving five years in President Obama’s cabinet.
The announcement came just over a week after the first open enrollment period for Obama’s signature health care law came to a close. Though the enrollment period faced a tumultuous rollout, more than seven million Americans enrolled in health care coverage through the exchanges.
In an interview, Sebelius said she started talking to President Barack Obama about her resignation after the first of the year.
“And I went back to him in early March and said, ‘You know, I’m really optimistic we’re going to meet the targets and the enrollment is good, the site is working well. I think once we finish this first chapter you really should begin to look for the next secretary who can be here through the end of your term.’ And that really wasn’t a commitment I was willing to make. And he knew that,” she said.
Kathleen Sebelius was born May 15, 1948, in Cincinnati, Ohio. She was director of the Kansas Trial Lawyers Association (1977–1987). As a Democrat, Sebelius entered politics as a member of the Kansas House of Representatives for eight years, from 1986 to 1994. She then served as the Kansas Insurance Commissioner from 1994 to 2002. She was elected governor of Kansas in 2002 and re-elected in 2006.
In 2009, Sebelius joined the administration of President Barack Obama as the head of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Obama has nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell, currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace Sebelius.
Alexander says Sebelius resignation was “right decision”
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the senior Republican on the Senate health committee, released the following statement on reports of U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation and that the president has nominated Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell to replace her:
“This is the right decision. The challenge for Ms. Burwell, or any other successor, is to help Congress find the right way to repair the damage Obamacare has done to American families.”