Fire Sebelius: Mitt Romney for HHS Secretary

Former Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius was appointed by President Obama to be Secretary of Health and Human Services in 2009. After Obamacare’s passage in 2010, she had one job - to make its implementation smooth, and the timeline in the law gave her almost four years to do it.

Three weeks after the federal insurance exchanges opened, it is clear that she has failed miserably at that job. The calls for her resignation are mounting, and an upcoming appearance before a House committee will only accelerate the outrage. Most cabinet secretaries don’t make it through a president’s full two terms, whether because of stress, scandal, or a desire for new energy at those high profile positions.

So with Sebelius potentially on her way out, who should replace her? There is only one man for the job: Mitt Romney!

[pause for laughter]

Now now, hear me out! Think about it. Who else has the experience turning around failed national projects, reigning in out of control budgets, hiring the right people to clean up a wasteful operation, and right down to the details, implementing a health care reform plan with an insurance exchange and individual mandate?

Surprisingly, President Obama already has a knack for nominating Bain Capital board members and Romney advisors to top posts, so why not stop beating around the bush and just hire the man himself? If it works and Romney fixes the healthcare.gov site and exchange system, Obama gets to highlight his bipartisan credentials and tout his program as a success. If it doesn’t work, Obama gets to blame Romney! Win-win!

The timeline could be a problem, of course. The exchanges opened October 1, the deadline for January coverage is December 15, the individual mandate kicks in February 15, and open enrollment ends March 31. A cabinet position usually takes months to get confirmed.

However, nominating an already nationally known figure like Romney might streamline that process. Senate Republicans could easily rubberstamp his nomination, and even most Democrats probably would too. And if they don’t, we would have the opportunity to point out their hypocrisy on confirmation battles. So if nominated, he could conceivably be in office within a month, which would give him another couple months to get the system turned around for the final deadlines, especially if they get delayed.

Now we just need to get Sebelius to resign… Given that her position is solely responsible for writing thousands of pages of regulations for the health care and insurance system now, the sooner the better.


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