Kathleen Sebelius, who resigned last week as U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, said on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that she made the decision to leave and told President Barack Obama last month that staying “wasn’t an option.”
Sebelius’ appearance on Meet the Press was her first interview since the White House announced her resignation Friday. She said that she and the president first spoke about her future after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – started to show it was recovering from a problematic launch on October 1.
“The president and I began to talk after the first of the year, and I went back to him in early March,” Sebelius said.
“I made it pretty clear that it really wasn’t an option to stay on, Sebelius said.
“I thought it was fair to either commit to January 2017 or leave with enough time that he would get a strong, competent leader,” Sebelius said.
“That really wasn’t a commitment I was willing to make and he knew that,” Sebelius continued.
Sebelius was responding to speculation that she was asked to resign after the failed Obamacare rollout last fall.
President Obama announced her resignation on Friday, as well as his nomination of budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to take over as health secretary.
Although the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act had a rocky start because of technical glitches with the program’s website, enrollment totals after the March 31 deadline exceeded projections. Sebelius’ resignation comes at a high note for the program. She announced last week that 7.5 million people signed up for private health coverage under the law.
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