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Health Secretary Sebelius Resigns

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AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster

Sebelius made the decision to resign herself and was not asked to leave, officials told the New York Times.

She approached Obama about leaving last month, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told the Times. She said that the growing enrollment numbers and March sign-up deadline would make a good window for her departure.

"What was clear is that she thought that it was time to transition the leadership to somebody else," McDonough said. "She’s made clear in other comments publicly that she recognizes that she takes a lot of the incoming. She does hope — all of us hope — that we can get beyond the partisan sniping."

McDonough said that Burwell's experience running the OMB will make her a good fit to lead Health and Human services.

"The president wants to make sure we have a proven manager and relentless implementer in the job over there, which is why he is going to nominate Sylvia," he said.