Sebelius Resigns; Obama Names OMB Director Burwell To Run HHS

Date: April 11, 2014

Networks All Label Sebelius’ Oversight Of ACA “Rocky”

President Obama made official today (April 11) what had leaked last night, that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has resigned her position now that the first enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) has come to a close. The news leaked just as the national broadcast networks were going to air last night, so they were able to run only short pieces, with ABC World News reporting “she led the rocky introduction of Obamacare”; the CBS Evening News saying she “has been under fire over the rocky roll-out”; and NBC Nightly News reporting she is leaving “after five years on the job and following the rocky roll-out of President Obama’s healthcare law.” In making the resignation announcement at a White House ceremony, the President also said he is nominating OMB Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to replace Sebelius at HHS.

Referring to the 7.5 million people the White House claims have signed up for Obamacare, the President pointedly said in today’s remarks that “the final score speaks for itself.” Media analysts from both sides of the aisle, however, made it clear the President’s “final score” phrase was likely wishful thinking. What is more likely is that the confirmation process for Burwell will be a venue for critics of Obamacare to re-engage in the battle over the law, demanding more data from HHS than has been heretofore made available to Congress. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) previewed what’s ahead in today’s Wall Street Journal, saying, “Regardless of the Administration’s public explanation for the secretary’s exit, Obamacare has been a rolling disaster and her resignation is cold comfort to the millions of Americans who were deceived about what it would mean for them and their families.”

What This Means For Small Business:

When the Senate confirmation process for Sylvia Mathews Burwell begins, the Affordable Care Act may be litigated anew. Senate supporters and opponents of the law will likely invite affected parties to provide the Senate with the benefit of their experiences with the Affordable Care Act. Both sides will be keeping one eye on this November’s elections, which could produce a new Congress with substantially different views on Obamacare than the current Congress.

Further Reading:

Reuters, USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Times, Vox, Bloomberg News, and The Hill provide coverage of the Sebelius resignation. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Politico cover the Burwell nomination. Wall Street Journal and New York Times columnists provide their take on the news as well.

This news article is intended to keep small business owners apprised of current events that may affect them. It does not necessarily reflect NFIB’s policy position on such issues.

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