In praising his outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at the White House Friday, President Barack Obama said: “Under Kathleen’s leadership, her team at HHS turned the corner, got it fixed, got the job done.” That is true, but it was a backhanded compliment.
Yes, the Affordable Care Act exceeded its initial sign-up goal when more than 7 million Americans enrolled for insurance in the health care exchanges by March 31. But the corner that had to be turned — the fiasco of the website’s rollout back in October — was a major deviation on the road forward. Ms. Sebelius bore responsibility and now she has fully taken it by resigning.
Timing is everything. The rollout troubles could not have come at a worse time. For face-saving purposes, her departure now could not come at a better time. Her departure is good for her and good for the future of the Affordable Care Act.
Mr. Obama has nominated Office of Management and Budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, a West Virginia native and Rhodes Scholar. Her management skills are sorely needed to avoid any more sharp corners.