When pressed about who should be held responsible for the problems with Healthcare.gov during a Congressional oversight hearing, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the buck finally stops with her.
In response to a string of questions by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) about who in the administration was ultimately in charge Sebelius finally answered, “Hold me accountable for the debacle. I’m responsible.”
Throughout the hearing Sebelius has taken a relatively conciliatory tone. She acknowledged there are serious problems with the website and apologized for her department not meeting its goals. Admitting the country “deserves better.”
Republicans have already started calling for Sebelius to resign and after this hearing they will likely increase the drum beat.
The simple fact, though, is that the Senate Republicans would never allow a replacement to be quickly confirmed. You even have Lindsey Graham threatening to shut down all confirmation votes because of Benghazi, so Sebelius is remarkably secure in her position. Given the complexity of this implementation Obama needs an HHS secretary and she is basically Obama’s only option.
Since Sebelius is not going anywhere she might as well do the right thing and accept ultimate responsibility. Given the key role she has played over the past five year she is going to get the bulk of the blame or the credit for the implementation anyway.