Washington (AFP) – President Barack Obama on Friday nominated budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell as his new health secretary, seeking to capitalize on an enrollment surge to cement his signature health law.
Obama paid tribute to outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius saying she had pulled off a “historic accomplishment” by securing health insurance for millions of Americans for the first time.
Despite Obama’s warm endorsement, Sebelius is effectively paying the price for the chaotic rollout of Obamacare last year, which forced the administration to launch an emergency effort to fix a malfunctioning enrollment website.
The hurried triage paid off, after 7.5 million people eventually signed up through a federal exchange to the health care plan by an end-of-March deadline.
AFP Photo/ Mandel Ngan