Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the lightning rod for Obamacare's troubled rollout last fall, has resigned. During her five years heading HHS, she oversaw a fundamental transformation of the U.S. health care system. Considering she was never supposed to serve as secretary at all, she'll depart having left an indelible mark on the Obama administration.
Her tenure will be, in many ways, defined by two setbacks that could have been avoided and almost completely discredited the law in the public eyes -- and by her uncanny ability to bring Obamacare back from the brink and leave the law in as good of shape as it could be.
Her appearance Friday with President Barack Obama and her chosen successor, Office of Budget and Management Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, had a celebratory tone. The president touted the historic implications of the law and Sebelius's final achievement of 7.5 million Obamacare sign-ups. About a half dozen standing ovations from HHS and White House officials greeted her.
But implicit in their remarks was a recognition that the law's implementation had not gone as smoothly as it could have. And, for the foreseeable future, it is likely that mix of commendation for her successes and a linger memory of her failures that will define Sebelius's legacy.
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