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Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Is Resigning

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius smiles as she waits for President Barack Obama to speak about the Affordable Care Act in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on April 1, 2014.

Health Secrerary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning after a five-year term that will no doubt be remembered for the calamitous implementation of President Obama's signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act.

If you remember, when the federal government unveiled HealthCare.gov, where Americans could buy health insurance mandated by Obamacare, the site was essentially useless for weeks after it launched in October.

Republicans openly called for Sebelius' resignation, but she vowed to see the troubled website through.

The New York Times reports:

"The departure comes as the Obama administration tries to move beyond its early stumbles in carrying out the law, persuade a still-skeptical public of its lasting benefits, and help Democratic incumbents, who face blistering attack ads after supporting the legislation, survive the midterm elections this fall."Officials said Ms. Sebelius, 65, made the decision to resign and was not forced out. But the frustration at the White House over her performance had become increasingly clear, as administration aides worried that the crippling problems at HealthCare.gov, the website set up to enroll Americans in insurance exchanges, would result in lasting damage to the president's legacy."

NPR's Scott Horsley reports that Sylvia Mathews Burwell, currently the director of the Office of Management and Budget, will be nominated to replace Sebelius.

Before taking the job at as HHS secretary, Sebelius served six years as the Democratic governor of the GOP-dominated Kansas. She is the daughter of the late Ohio Gov. John Gilligan.

When she faced the House Energy and Commerce Committee back in October, Sebelius took the fall for the problematic health care site.

"Let me say directly to these Americans: You deserve better," Sebelius said. "I apologize. I'm accountable to you for fixing these problems. And I'm committed to earning your confidence back by fixing the site."

Earlier this month, President Obama announcedthat during the Affordable Care Act's first open enrollment, more than 7 million Americans had signed up for health insurance. That number represented an achievement for the administration, because it was their original goal.

"This law is doing what it's supposed to do," Obama said. "It's working."

He thanked the legislators who helped usher the bill through Congress, but he did not thank Sebelius.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/

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