Meet the Press   |  April 13, 2014

Sebelius Steps Down, Good for Democrats?

The Meet the Press roundtable weighs in on Health Secretary’s Kathleen Sebelius’ announcement to resign from her post. What’s the political impact on Obama’s health care law she helped champion and the Democrats in the midterm elections?

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> mike murphy i turn from you. but first ezra klein writing this, obamacare has won, and that's why secretary of health and human services kathleen sebelius can resign. the evidence has piled up in recent weeks that the strategy worked. obamaca obamacare's first year despite a horrific start was a success. more than 7 million people looked to have signed up for health insurance through the exchanges. millions more have changed up through medicaid. millions beyond that have signed up for insurance through their employers. so the argument being, hey, good time to step down.

>> well, it's a time honored thing in the midst of a disaster to declare victory and try to move on. we'll see. it will be litigated in the midterm elections . the country will cast a judgment on it on election day . we'll see if we still have a democratic senate. the fact is it's not really at this point a republican/democrat thing anymore. it's an idea versus actuarial science . i think she's going to get confirmed and i think she now has the toughest job in the federal government .

>> there's a lot we still don't know. that's a reality. you can't anticipate all the consequences of obamacare even though you have some evidence that people are signing up, people who didn't have insurance now have insurance. those are positive signs. you don't know the rest.

>> well, we have other evidence, too. we have 170-some million people who aren't being denied because they've pre-existing conditions. 3 million young people who are now on their parents' health care plan. there are a lot of benefits. we're closing the doughnut hole the republicans want to reopen in their budget, and the american people are saying overwhelmingly now don't repeal. let's fix it if there are problems, but we want this system to work.

>> "the wall street journal " had its voice heard this week. paul gigot and the editorial was, it was nice to think that kathleen sebelius 's reg nis nation is a case of accountability. the departure of the secretary of health and human services who presided over obamacare's rollout debacle is best understood as one more attempt to dodge political responsibility. why. why do you say that?

>> because it's a deck clearing exercise. she's a lightning rod . would have been a lightning rod going into the elections. get her out of there and you waited until kind of you had at least the plausible signup numbers to be able to quote, but now let's move her out. she wasn't going to help in the election. they hope to get this confirmation of her successor done early. i think the danger for the democrats is the republicans will use this as an opportunity to reopen the debate and try to find some of the facts that we don't know yet about how many people have paid their premiums, how many people lost insurance. what about the next wave and the premium increases that are coming?

>> carol, a lot of people, friends and foes alike, wanted her gone for a while.

>> it was a success in spite of its debacle. i don't know how else to put it. people use, for example, the way it was rolled out from a digital perspective was just -- it's complete disaster. tinder is doing 12 million matches a day and they can't get this thing working. i think had it gone smoothly from a digital perspective, it might have been a slightly different story, but everyone is able to focusdisaster of it. everyone uses these digital services all day long and they work perfectly.

>> and to that point what's so important about getting -- making this work through younger people signing up --

>> that's how they're going to do it.

>> they're not going to say i'll try back later.

>> all your health services will be through your phones. some diagnosis, there's all kinds of things you can put in the phones where you can put blood samples. this is the way it's going to be, it's a digital delivery .

>> paul made a good point. there's a huge difference between clicking yes and paying and really enrolling.

>> and we don't know the numbers yet.

>> they think it could be as wide as 20%.

>> main thing republicans continue to want to do the bad news story of health care . the fact is -- i agree there was a problem with the rollout, but the fact is that millions of people have signed up, millions more people have benefits. this is going to get better over time . young people actually support the health care law more overwhelmingly than almost any other category of americans. it can't all be a bad news story. and it was -- kathleen sebelius ' reg s resignation, she was one of the longest serving secretaries and