By Roberta Rampton
WASHINGTON, April 10 Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S.
health secretary who oversaw the botched rollout of President
Barack Obama's signature healthcare reforms, has resigned, a
senior administration official said on Thursday.
Obama has chosen Sylvia Mathews Burwell, his budget
director, to replace Sebelius, a second official said. Obama was
due to announce the change with Sebelius and Burwell at his side
at a White House event at 10:45 ET/1445 GMT on Friday.
Sebelius, 65, became the public face for the problem-plagued
start to the enrollment period for Obamacare, which was meant to
reduce the number of Americans without health insurance and cut
into massive U.S. healthcare costs.
When enrollment opened in October, a website used to shop
for insurance in 35 states, HealthCare.gov, failed to work for
weeks, and became the lightning rod for criticism from
Republicans, who want to repeal the program.
The enrollment was ultimately successful, surpassing the
seven million figure the Obama administration had predicted, but
Sebelius, a former governor of Kansas, told Obama in early
March she wanted to leave the administration.
"She believed that once open enrollment ended it would be
the right time to transition the department to new leadership,"
an official said.
Burwell, a former official at the Gates Foundation and
Wal-Mart Foundation, helped the administration manage its
response to a shutdown of the federal government brought on by a
budget battle with Republicans in October. She also was a key
player in talks that yielded a two-year budget agreement in
"The president sought a nominee with strong credentials in
management, implementation, and performance for this important
role," the official said, noting she was confirmed unanimously
to lead the budget office less than a year ago.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Sandra Maler and