GOP Rejoices as Sebelius Goes, says Obamacare Must Follow

Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 09:27 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Republicans and conservatives cheered the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Thursday, but many charge that the best cure for the beleaguered Obamacare program that debuted during her tenure is total repeal.

"Secretary Sebelius oversaw a disastrous rollout of Obamacare, but anyone can see that there are more problems on the way," Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. "The next HHS secretary will inherit a mess: Americans facing rising costs, families losing their doctors, and an economy weighed down by intrusive regulations.

"No matter who is in charge of HHS, Obamacare will continue to be a disaster and will continue to hurt hard-working Americans," Priebus added. "It's time for President Obama to admit that Democrats' signature law is a failure and heed Republican calls for patient-centered healthcare reform."

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell noted that Sebelius' departure comes nearly one year after key Obamacare architect and former Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, now U.S. Ambassador to China, described the healthcare law as "a train wreck."

"Obamacare has been a rolling disaster, and her resignation is cold comfort to the millions of Americans who were deceived about what it would mean for them and their families," the Kentucky senator said in a statement. "Countless Americans have unexpectedly been forced out of the plans they had and liked, are now shouldering dramatically higher premiums — and can no longer use the doctors and hospitals they choose.

"Beyond that, virtually everyone who has come into contact with this law has had new reason to worry about what it means for the government to control their healthcare," McConnell added. "Secretary Sebelius may be leaving, but the problems with this law and the impact it’s having on our constituents aren’t.

"Obamacare has to go, too."

Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn toasted the resignation with "my red Solo cup," she said in a statement. "This has been a long time coming after a litany of failures and total mismanagement. The American people deserve better.”

But House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia was more gracious, saying on Twitter:



Several other Republicans also tweeted on Sebelius’ resignation, including...

Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana:



Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas:



Rep. Ted Yoho of Florida:



Sebelius, 65, will end her stormy five-year tenure on Friday, and President Barack Obama will nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, 48, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace her that morning, White House officials said.

Republicans have long called for the resignation of Sebelius, the former Democratic governor of Kansas — and those demands intensified after the botched rollout of Obamacare's individual mandate last Oct. 1.

In October, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa subpoenaed Sebelius for records on the Obamacare debacle and threatened to investigate her for perjury in January.

The California congressman told Politico Thursday that the HHS secretary's tenure "may be at an end, but Americans will be dealing with the repercussions of the president’s health law for a very long time.”

Obamacare's introduction was plagued by widespread technical problems to the HealthCare.gov website. The federal exchange covers 36 states that do not have their own health exchanges. The site even crashed when Sebelius visited a Miami hospital last November.

In addition, Americans have since lost their existing coverage, despite promises by President Obama that they could keep their insurance and their doctors if they wanted to — and they have seen skyrocketing premiums and deductibles and lower-quality coverage.

"Unfortunately for the American people, Secretary Sebelius' resignation will do nothing to protect them from Obamacare’s canceled coverage, skyrocketing costs, and fewer choices," Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, said in a statement. "Obamacare is fundamentally flawed — and a personnel change at HHS won’t change that ugly reality.

"The only way to protect American families, workers, and small businesses from Obamacare’s consequences is to scrap this law and start over with common-sense reforms that actually reduce health care costs," the South Dakota senator said.

"Secretary Sebelius had one of the toughest jobs in Washington: implementing Obamacare, a flawed law that continues to fall woefully short of its promises to the American people," Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, currently the longest-serving Republican, said in a statement.

Hatch also is the top GOP member of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees Burwell's confirmation process.

"While we haven't always agreed, Secretary Sebelius did the best she could during the tumultuous and volatile rollout of the law," Hatch said.

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley said Sebelius "was asked to promote something unready, poorly structured, and unpopular," in a statement to The Washington Post.

"She was given a law that was just about written in pencil the way the deadlines changed all the time. That put her in a position of having a strained relationship with Congress," he added.

"It’s disingenuous for the White House to distance itself from the problems and attribute them to partisan sniping at one member of the administration. The next secretary might have a fresh start with the public and Congress, but the flawed law is still the law.”

 A spokeswoman for Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts called the resignation "a prudent decision" given the total failure of Obamacare's implementation.

Signed into law in 2010, the Affordable Care Act is considered Obama's major domestic legislative achievement.

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But Barney Keller, a spokesman for the Club for Growth, sharply disagreed.

"Obamacare, like the Titanic, is destined to fail no matter who the captain is," he told Newsmax in a statement. "Conservatives must redouble their efforts to repeal this awful law in its entirety as soon as possible."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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