GOP calls grow for Sebelius’ ouster
October 23, 2013 in Medical Technology
As controversy continues around the not-ready-for-primetime launch of the federal insurance exchange website, calls from some Republicans are getting louder for the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
[See also: Obama calls IT support for ailing site]
Former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan became one of the highest-profile GOP politicians to call for Sebelius’ job on Tuesday, joining Tea Party firebrands such as Texas Senator Ted Cruz, Republican Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli – and even her one-time friend and fellow Jayhawk, Kanas Senator Pat Roberts.
“Enough is enough,” said Roberts in a YouTube video posted Oct. 11. “Today I am calling on Kathleen Sebelius to resign her post as secretary of Health and Human Services. Secretary Sebelius has had three and a half years to launch Obamacare, and she has failed.”
[See also: Sebelius to tackle interoperability]
The HHS secretary “should be held accountable,” Wisconsin Rep. Ryan told ABC News. “It’s becoming more and more clear by the day that they knew the rollout wouldn’t go well.”
“This launch has been a national embarrassment, but it’s just a symptom of much bigger problems,” said Cuccinelli. “I believe President Obama ought to fire Kathleen Sebelius.”
“Absolutely, she should resign,” said Cruz – still in the spotlight after leading the failed government shutdown effort to protest of the Affordable Care Act – on CNN this past Sunday. “Why? Because the program she implanted, Obamacare, is a disaster. It’s not working, it’s hurting people all across the country.”
In a long story in today’s New York Times, some close to Sebelius said she should not shoulder the ultimate blame for the site’s many ongoing failings, arguing that, rather than being in the weeds of Healthcare.gov’s infrastucture, she’s been much more focused on policy and public outreach related to the ACA these past few months.
“Kathleen has the title, but she doesn’t have the responsibility or in many respects the kind of wide authority and access to the president that she really needs to make a difference,” one anonymous source told the paper. “Everybody thinks that she’s the driving force, but unfortunately she’s not.”
Even some Democrats, such as former Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, have expressed hopes that “they fire some people that were in charge of making sure that this thing was supposed to work.”
Still, as the Washington Post put it yesterday, even if this ends up being a case of the-buck-stops-here, the Healthcare.gov debacle is far bigger than any one person.