On April 11th, the President announced the resignation of Kathleen Sebelius as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Secretary Sebelius, the former state insurance commissioner and then governor of Kansas, had been acting as the Secretary of HHS since April of 2009. Some have conjectured that she resigned because of the rocky roll-out of healthcare.gov; however, her five year tenure as HHS Secretary is not unusually short for a two-term president. For example, President George W. Bush’s first pick for his health secretary, Tommy Thompson, served only during the President Bush’s first term.
The President has already identified his nominee for her replacement – Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the current director of the President’s Office of Management and Budget. In addition to her current experience, Burwell spent time in the Clinton administration, at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and at the Walmart Foundation. Confirmation is expected, as Burwell was confirmed without incident for her current position just one year ago. The onus will be on Secretary-to-be Burwell to ensure continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act and a smooth start to the 2015 open enrollment period.