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I asked our team to pause for family time this week before kids return to school. The homepage is updated daily. The Digest returns on Monday, August 2. —Mark Alexander

Apr. 15, 2014

Inheriting the Sebelius Mess

It doesn’t matter who’s in charge; ObamaCare is broken.

Kathleen Sebelius officially resigned as head of the Department of Health and Human Services Friday. Under ordinary circumstances, the departure of the head of HHS would be below-the-fold news at best. But we do not live in ordinary times. The head of HHS is in charge of ObamaCare, and that law says that the HHS secretary will have unprecedented power over insurance enrollment periods, the type of insurance Americans can have, and the definition of who is eligible for what type of insurance the government deigns to offer. It’s essentially a fiefdom, if not a dictatorship, over Americans’ health care choices. Sebelius can’t handle the scrutiny over the administration’s inability to deliver anymore. Who will take her place?

Barack Obama has nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell, a veteran of management positions in government and the nonprofit sector. According to the Left, Burwell has served with distinction as global director for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and president of the Walmart Foundation. Her government work includes work in the Clinton White House as deputy chief of staff, and chief of staff to then-Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. In the Obama administration, she was confirmed by the Senate as head of the Office of Management and Budget by a 96-0 vote.

But Burwell’s ability to operate below the radar is over. She will now be the public face of ObamaCare. She is almost assured confirmation in the Democrat-controlled Senate as the next head of HHS – especially after Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) “went nuclear” last fall – but her confirmation hearings are a prime opportunity for Republicans to put forth some very reasonable questions. For example: How many people are truly signed up? How many previously uninsured people are now benefiting from the law? How many people were kicked out of perfectly good insurance plans?

ObamaCare is arguably the greatest unconstitutional power grab and the most economically devastating law the federal government has ever perpetrated upon our republic. Whatever Burwell’s previous accomplishments, she will now have to explain in very public hearings what she plans to do with an HHS department that is riddled with bureaucratic incompetence. Good luck. Because the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter who’s in charge; ObamaCare is fundamentally broken.

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