Bye bye KathleenBlog added by Denis Storey on April 16, 2014
Denis Storey

Denis Storey

Centennial, CO

Joined: September 29, 2010

My Company

Kathleen Sebelius is gone.

Or, as one of our readers (predictably) put it: “Ding Dong the witch is dead, the witch is dead; the witch is dead!”

But it changes nothing. It fixes nothing. Enrollment’s over. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act isn’t going anywhere. And midterms are still months away.

Republicans, of course, will claim victory, that the architect of the disastrous rollout has been shown the door. And that her failures have finally caught up to her. She leaves Washington disgraced.

And even that bellwether of liberal thought – the New York Times – saw fit to herald her departure with the headline: “Sebelius resigns after troubles with health site.” Really? Because that was nearly five months ago. That's like me writing how I got food poisoning last week from too much stuffing on Thanksgiving.

Don’t get me wrong: The rollout was a disaster. Someone's head should have rolled. But I never thought it should be her. And certainly not months later. There’s no point now. In fact, the more accurate headline would have read: “Sebelius resigns after hitting enrollment goal.”

Which is exactly what Democrats will claim. After enrollment closed, the administration promptly announced a final enrollment tally of more than 7 million people, exceeding the administration’s wildest enrollment dreams. She’s walking away on top: Mission accomplished.

But, while enrollment numbers are the only real quantifiable metric we have when judging the success or failure of this law’s final phase of implementation, those same numbers couldn’t be more vague. We have no real demographic breakdown of the data, or context with regard to how much we’ve ending up paying for those 7 million enrollees. (Personally, I’m betting somewhere around a million bucks a head, but we’ll see.)

The rollout was a slow-motion train wreck we all saw coming but did nothing to avoid. Somebody should’ve been accountable, and someone still should be. But we also shouldn’t be too surprised that the federal government spent too much for something that didn’t do enough. Hell, at least with NASA we get cool pictures from other planets…

But maybe I’m biased because of our shared Midwestern backgrounds. As both an insurance commissioner and governor of Kansas, Sebelius not only managed to work with both parties, she showed a level of fiscal responsibility and common sense that’s all too rare in a political figure these days. And, as the longest serving member of the president’s cabinet, she’s shown a loyalty that’s all but extinct.

Her legacy, on the other hand, is a mixed bag. I think the onetime Democratic rising star is done politically. She’s forever tarred and feathered with the law, whether that association is fair or not.

But I’m betting she’ll make more than enough at some think tank. And, who knows, maybe if she’s on the talk show circuit by then, I’ll invite her to our next Benefits Selling Expo.

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