Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, is stepping down from her post following the problems surrounding the launch of 'Obamacare.'
Sebelius was the person who took charge of implementing the U.S. government website, www.healthcare.gov, designed as a means of enrolling for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The process is colloquially known as “Obamacare.” The rollout of the website has been described by most commentators as "rocky" at best.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The legislation was enacted with the goals of increasing the quality and affordability of health insurance, lowering the uninsured rate by expanding public and private insurance coverage, and reducing the costs of healthcare for individuals and the government.
President Barack Obama reportedly accepted Sebelius’s resignation earlier in the week. According to official spin, the resignation was planned in advance and had nothing to do with the shaky early days of the website. An official has told The Wall Street Journal:
"At that time, Secretary Sebelius told the president that she felt confident in the trajectory for enrollment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and that she believed that once open enrollment ended it would be the right time to transition the department to new leadership."
However, according to The Guardian, the White House will hope Sebelius' departure will close out one of the rockiest chapters of Obama's presidency. This began in October after the federal healthcare website was beset by technical issues. Millions of people were unable to access the site, amid crashes and glitches.
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the current director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), is to replace Sebelius, the New York Times has reported.