Former Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius called the rollout of the government’s healthcare reform law “terribly flawed” and said the administration’s original predictions about its timetable were “flat-out wrong” in a Sunday interview on NBC’s Meet the Press following her resignation last week.Sebelius also reiterated that she wasn't forced out of the administration, but that she had always planned on leaving at some point, but that she wanted to see the first enrollment period completed before going.
Sebelius attempted to stay positive while acknowledging the failures of the rollout. “Could we have used more time and testing? You bet. I’ve said that from the start,” she told NBC‘s Andrea Mitchell. “But the site actually works. And the great thing is, there’s a market behind the site that works even better. People have competitive choices and real information for the first time ever in this insurance market.”
“I made a decision at the election that I couldn’t leave, along with a lot of my colleagues who left at the end of the first term,” Sebelius said. “That didn’t seem to be even a topic to even consider since there was still one more chapter in the Affordable Care Act to roll out … So staying on made good sense to me.”Sebelius's departure does allow Republicans to keep the subject of Obamacare alive during the confirmation hearings of President Obama's pick for a replacement, Sylvia Mathews Burwell. Burwell is currently director of the Office of Management and Budget, a post she obtained with a 96-0 confirmation vote in the Senate. The fact that Burwell got unanimous support from Republicans won't knock them off message, however, in this instance: "The Republican message, according to one senior aide: 'We would argue that there is no person on earth capable of making this horrible law work.'"
Burwell's appointment really isn't in question; last year's filibuster reform for executive and judicial nominations means that Democrats can easily overcome Republican efforts to block her.