KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

A Closer Look At HHS Sec. Sebelius’ Health Law Role

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius' role in the problems the health law's insurance marketplace is having, and the subsequent calls for her ouster, are examined. Sebelius' absence would mean a key post in implementing Obamacare would be vacant.

NBC News: Safe For Now? Why Sebelius Is Unlikely To Be Axed After Obamacare Mess
Critics calling for the ouster of Kathleen Sebelius after Obamacare’s clumsy online rollout are unlikely to get their wish any time soon. If she were sacked, it would leave a crucial cabinet position vacant -- and Republicans could use a confirmation fight to re-argue the merits of Obamacare. And many GOP leaders are already calling for her resignation after technical glitches made initial online registration nearly impossible for millions of Americans. Another factor: Losing the Health and Human Services secretary would leave the agency without a leader when it is under intense pressure to fix flaws in the website before Dec. 15 -- the last day for Americans to enroll for coverage that begins on the first of the year (Dann, 10/24).

CNN: Sebelius: Veteran Of Health Care Wars
Navigating the political waters in her own family, says one ally, likely prepared Kathleen Sebelius well for the partisan cauldron she's now enduring in Washington over the rocky rollout of the Obamacare website. The embattled Health and Human Services Secretary was the daughter of a Democratic governor of Ohio, then became the daughter-in-law of a Republican Congressman from Kansas. Her husband is a federal magistrate (Todd, 10/23).

Bloomberg: Sebelius Saleswoman Role Left Gap In Obamacare Oversight
In the months before the Obamacare health insurance website debuted, Kathleen Sebelius gave few hints that anything might be wrong. A June version of the site carrying educational material was easy to navigate, and an early September demonstration of the enrollment function appeared to work well, said a person with knowledge of the situation (Wayne, 10/24).

The Kansas City Star: Kansas' Kathleen Sebelius Is At The Center Of Obamacare Rollout
Finally, Republicans and Democrats agree: Kathleen Sebelius now faces the biggest crisis of her 27 years in politics. Three weeks after the Health and Human Services secretary launched the campaign to sign up millions of Americans for health insurance, the ongoing technical meltdown connected with that effort has prompted increasingly loud demands for her resignation -- or firing (Helling, 10/23).

The New York Times: Sebelius Finds A Friendly Crowd in Boston
For Kathleen Sebelius, the Obama administration official who has become the focus of bipartisan anger over the bungled rollout of the online health insurance exchanges, a night out in Boston appeared to be a much-needed respite from scrutiny and criticism (Bidgood, 10/23).

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