President Barack Obama last week announced the resignation of Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius.
Noting that she will “go down in history” for “serving as the Secretary of Health and Human Services when the United States of America finally declared that quality, affordable health care is not a privilege, but it is a right for every single citizen of these United States of America,” President Obama praised Secretary Sebelius for guiding the implementation of the landmark Affordable Care Act (ACA).
At least 7.5 million Americans have now signed up for health coverage through health insurance marketplaces created by the ACA. That number surpasses the Administration’s original target of 7 million enrollments. Over 7 million had already signed up by the March 31 deadline, but the latest tally includes those individuals who began the process of enrolling online before March 31 but who were allowed completed the process after the deadline. Another 3 million individuals also enrolled in Medicaid between October 2013 and the end of February. Twenty-six states and the District of Columbia acted to expand Medicaid coverage through the ACA.
Beyond the ACA, President Obama remarked on Secretary Sebelius’s work to improve child health, expand mental health services, reduce health disparities, and promote women’s health, in addition to her efforts to combat healthcare fraud.
President Obama also announced his nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be the next HHS Secretary. Burwell is currently the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). She will face hearings in both the Senate Finance Committee and the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee before receiving a confirmation vote by the full Senate.
Media Resources: The White House 4/11/14; Politico 4/11/14; Los Angeles Times 4/10/14; Feminist Newswire 4/1/14