In praising his outgoing Health and Human Services secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, at the White House late last week, President Obama said: “Under Kathleen’s leadership, her team at HHS turned the corner, got it fixed, got the job done.” That’s true, but it was a backhanded compliment.
Yes, the Affordable Care Act exceeded its initial sign-up goal when more than 7 million Americans enrolled for insurance in the health-care exchanges by March 31. But the corner that had to be turned — the fiasco of the Web site’s rollout last October — was a major deviation on the road forward.
Ms. Sebelius bore responsibility, and now she has taken it by resigning. Timing is everything: The rollout troubles could not have come at a worse time.
For face-saving purposes, her departure now could not come at a better time. Her departure is good for her and good for the future of the Affordable Care Act.
To succeed Ms. Sebelius, Mr. Obama has nominated Office of Management and Budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, a former Rhodes scholar. Her management skills will be needed to avoid any more sharp corners.