Sebelius announces resignation amidst ACA, ICD-10 and SGR challenges

April 11, 2014

Shortly after announcing the enrollment of 7.5 million people in ACA health insurance exchanges, Kathleen Sebelius resigned as secretary of the of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Shortly after announcing the enrollment of 7.5 million people in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance exchanges, Kathleen Sebelius resigned as secretary of the of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Her departure leaves many unanswered questions for the Obama administration and about the future of the ACA and other healthcare challenges.

“I knew it wouldn’t be easy,” Sebelius said about the rollout of ACA at a press conference Friday announcing her resignation. “The Affordable Care Act is the most significant social change this country has seen in 50 years.”

Sebelius, 65, served President Barack Obama’s administration for five years, and led the rollout the ACA exchanges in October 2013. The website hosting the healthcare exchanges, Healthcare.gov, faced troubles from the beginning. It was virtually unworkable for weeks, after being flooded with people attempting to sign up for coverage.

Sebelius faced both House and Senate hearings because of the faulty rollout of the healthcare exchanges. In the months leading up to the March 31 enrollment deadline, she joined Obama and other administration officials in touring the country and courting media to encourage people to sign up for insurance.  

A surge of enrollees in March helped the administration exceed its enrollment goal, and a confident Sebelius even told The Huffington Post that she would remain secretary until next November to continue working on the ACA.

“This is the most satisfying work I’ve ever done,” Sebelius told The Huffington Post on March 31.

Obama is nominating Sylvia Mathews Burwell, current director of the Office of Management and Budget to replace Sebelius. As HHS faces continued battles over ACA and the push for Medicaid expansion, new challenges from the recent ICD-10 delay and Medicare’s SGR patch also await.