Mitterhoff Address: Sebelius resigns amid high Obamacare sign-up numbers

Mitterhoff+Address%3A+Sebelius+resigns+amid+high+Obamacare+sign-up+numbers

Matthew Mitterhoff

Last week, President Obama accepted the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Her resignation comes after months of hiccups with and criticism about the rollout of the online healthcare marketplace, Healthcare.gov, which Sebelius’s department oversaw.

“Its [sic] about time #Goodbye #shesGone #Sebelius,” Tim Huelskamp, a Republican representing the first district of Sebelius’s home state Kansas tweeted Thursday.

The timing of her resignation is strategic for the Obama administration. By accepting her resignation six months after the launch of the site, Obama does not concede that the healthcare law was a failure, which, purely in numbers, was not: by the deadline of March 31, the administration had reported it surpassed its goal of 7 million signups. What the timing of the resignation does do is simmer opponents to Obamacare by getting rid of someone who was controversial for the effective implementation of the law.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that Sebelius might be weighing a 2014 Senate run in her home state of Kansas. If Sebelius, a Democrat, wins the nomination, she will most likely be challenging incumbent Senator Pat Roberts, a Republican, who called for Sebelius’s resignation back in October in the wake of problems with Healthcare.gov. According to POLITICO, Roberts said Sebelius dealt with the site malfunctions with “gross incompetence.”

Her outlook for winning the election is grim. A recent poll from Public Policy Polling puts Sebelius at 38 percent favorable and 55 percent unfavorable in Kansas. Just as well, a plurality of Americans still do not like Obama’s healthcare law, with 50 percent of the country disapproving of the law according to a poll released last Thursday by the Pew Research Center. Having Sebelius tied to the unpopular law further limits her chances of election in a state that has voted for a Republican senator in every election since 1938. But maybe Sebelius can pull through in Kansas and redeem herself only two blocks from her previous office.