Ronan Farrow Daily   |  April 11, 2014

Sebelius resigns following Obamacare troubles

Following the troubled rollout of the Affordable Care Act website, Kathleen Sebelius has resigned from her role as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Ronan Farrow and panel discuss what led to this decision.

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

>> chapter is closing in the fraugt rollout of obamacare with the resignation of kathleen sebelius . sylvia burwell , currently leading the office of management and budget will replace her.

>> kathleen has been here through the long fight to pass the affordable care and helped guide its implementation even when it got rough. she's got bumps, i've got bumps, bruises. her team at hhs turned the corner, got it fixed, got the job done and the final score speaks for itself.

>> the reaction to see beal yus' resignation, she had an impossible task, no one could make obamacare work. this from marsha black burn. are you going to be drinking out of a red solo step or crystal stemware tonight? i want to know when marshacsha blackburn last drunk out of a solo cup . 7.5 million is the number of signups for obamacare for the end of the last month. kristen welker, thank you for joining us. administration officials said sebelius made this decision on her own. do you think the timing was hers or was this coming from president?

>> we think the president and secretary sebelius thought it was the right time. it was after the first enrollment period where they get the 7.1 million enroll ees as you noted and the white house trying to make it very clear this was secretary sebelius 's idea to resign, she was not prodded about the president. one senior official tells me there was broad agreement it was time to move on with a new head of hhs, who wasn't battered and bruised. you heard president obama make a subtle reference to that idea. this administration in addition to the fact that feeling frustrated that the rollout of the health care website was bungled. didn't exactly feel comfortable with the way she handled some of her public appearances afterward, particularly her appearance on daily show . you'll recall that was quite rocky and we didn't hear a whole lot after that. you heard president obama sort of question her handling of the rollout of the health care law . so this seemed to be in the writing over the past several months, so they move on now to sylvia burwell , who we should say was confirmed unanimously just last year for omb director. i anticipate there will be a somewhat contentious confirmation process e. ronan, but the expectation is that she will ultimately get confirmed.

>> we do already see bipartisan support with john mccain coming out and saying she would be an excellent choice. thank you, kristen welker. is this another blow to the president or is it a chance for this administration with a historic victory that is improving lives at their back to look forward to a new chapter? i'm going to turn to two reporters john harwood for cnbc and political writer for "the new york times" and sara cliff, the health care guru at vox.com. i'm a fan of both of your work. what legacy does sebelius leave behind?

>> you know, i think there's two things that stand out. one is the botched rollout of healthcare.gov. no matter how you look at it, it did not go well and how the obama administration wanted it to. that will be a mark on her tenure, but i think she at the end of the day , the final score was at least 7.5 million people signed up on the exchanges, that's more than cbo folks had forecasted. so she did deliver on one of the big promises of the affordable care act of getting more people covered.

>> more people covered than ever. john, what do you think is behind this choice of burwell specifically?

>> sylvia burwell i think as bullet proof a democratic hhs nominee as it's possible to find. first of all, remember, this is a midterm election year where democrats are running their -- they want the votes of women and trying to motivate women so when they replace kathleen sebelius it's another woman. one who came from both the clinton administration and the private sector, walmart, which is a very well respected company by and large, some liberal democrats don't like it too much. but this is somebody who's known for her management ability and rap on sebelius , was that she was the responsible officer of the government when the problems with the rollout occurred and somebody had to be held accountable. she was held accountable. that's why she's leaving now and sylvia burwell is replacing her. the administration sees this as the best possible way to move on and try to turn the corners.

>> regardless of what you think of walmart, it is a company with a reputation for efficient management, hopefully she'll bring that to the table. obamacare has a big victory with the latest signup numbers. what do you think the next hurdle is?

>> it's going to be premiums in 2015 , how much insurance increases, whether we see big spikes and those might be due to obamacare or just the fact that health care spending seems to be rebounding a little bit. but i think the combination of that with midterm elections , that's going to be a very closely watched moment.

>> and of course penalties for the uninsured, how do you think that will go over?

>> you'll start seeing some people who see part of their tax refund taken away because they don't have health insurance . that is obviously not very popular. we don't expect a lot of people to pay the penalty. it will be in massachusetts and little less than 1% to the entire population, if you think of that in gross numbers, that's about 30 million americans if that holds true, that's -- some people will be upset they are losing their tax penalty and that probably the individual mandate has been the least popular part of obama care when people start paying the penalties, i'm sure it will only become less popular.

>> it's tough to navigate but it is something worth pointing out it is helping and saving lives as more and more people are insured. john, the fight on this issue goes back generations and actually the president talked about it just yesterday in the context. lbj's legacy. we're finally seeing success in that fight. lowest rate of uninsured americans since 2008 , something as i said having a positive impact, we're hearing it from our viewers, do you think president obama finally succeeding where others have failed before him?

>> there's no question he succeeded in getting legislation passed and tentative signs wez see from enrollment numbers is he's giving the exchanges a fighting chance to work. as sara indicated, the mix of who's on the exchanges, we don't know the details yet, will contribute to what happens to premiums next year. if we continue the course of unexpected -- lower than expected premiums through the competition on the marketplace and if the health care moderation of the health care inflation continues, you've got a chance for the exchanges to get a lot bigger and get momentum going. i think the president certainly has a chance to look back and say that his legacy was a successful implementation, we've got a ways to go yet.