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Americas

US health secretary resigns over botched Obamacare rollout

© Photo: AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-11

Barack Obama's health secretary is to resign on Friday, paying the price for the chaotic initial rollout of the US president's signature health care law, officials said.

Kathleen Sebelius, the top US official who oversaw the badly managed rollout of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare reform, will officially step down on Friday and Obama will nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, his current budget director, to replace her, the officials said.

The administration will hope that the departure of Sebelius will draw a symbolic line under the early implementation period of the law, which had a botched debut due to a malfunctioning sign-up website.

The administration was forced into an embarrassing emergency effort to fix the site and other implementation problems after it was launched in October. Some 7.5 million people have now signed up for health insurance under the new law.

Obama and top aides spent last week declaring victory over skeptics who argued that the law would never work or that Americans would refuse to sign up.

But the stuttering start to so-called Obamacare provided fresh ammunition for Republicans who are using the law's unpopularity to blast vulnerable Democrats ahead of November's mid-term elections.

Burwell is known in the White House for her quiet competency and the president will look to her to smooth out teething troubles with Obamacare before the next registration period opens in November.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

Date created : 2014-04-11

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