WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate's top Republican is welcoming the resignation of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Mitch McConnell says he hopes it marks the start of a "candid conversation" about what he calls "Obamacare's shortcomings and the need to protect Medicare."
McConnell's statement appears to indicate an openness to a dialogue with the person chosen by President Barack Obama to succeed Sebelius at HHS -- Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who is the president's budget director.
But at the same time, McConnell declared that "Obamacare has to go."
A spokeswoman for Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican from Sebelius' home state of Kansas, calls the resignation a "prudent decision," given what the spokeswoman described as a total failure in implementing the new health care law.
The opening weeks of the enrollment period were marred by problems with the website, straining ties between Sebelius and officials in the West Wing. The administration rebounded, and exceeded expectations by enrolling more than 7 million people by the March 31st deadline. But that didn't end Republican criticism of Sebelius or boost the public's perception of the federal health care overhaul.
A staunch supporter of the health care law, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, is praising Sebelius, saying she "was a leader in the long effort to make history for our country with passage of the Affordable Care Act."