I’m going to keep this short and sweet:
Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius should both resign immediately.
Republicans, of course, started calling for Sebelius to leave her job soon after those first “glitches” appeared on HealthCare.gov. But this isn’t about politics; it’s about doing the right thing in the face of overwhelming evidence that both of these executives somehow allowed the rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to become such an unmitigated disaster.
Leadership, as anyone in HR knows, is a matter of character, not merely skill. It’s about who you are.
Apologizing, as Tavenner did Tuesday on Capitol Hill, is fine and good. But the damage of the past few weeks isn’t something so easily forgotten or forgiven.
Talk about dropping the ball. Warnings were everywhere that the rollout could be a problem. Our Kathryn Mayer wrote on this months ago, as have others.
Regardless of how you feel about Obamacare or Mr. Obama himself, the president’s enemies will be able to use this debacle against him (and others in his party) for years to come.
How can Sebelius or Tavenner ever expect to be fully, truly trusted again?
When Sebelius was asked last week about those who’ve called for her dismissal, she fought back, “The majority of people calling for me to resign I would say are people who I don’t work for and who do not want this program to work in the first place.”
Maybe, maybe not. Incredibly, though, she thoroughly misses the point. Competency in the job isn’t enough. Sebelius especially seems to have a tin ear for the criticism.
Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., got it right the other day.
“Anyone who got paid by the taxpayers, whether it’s those private contractors who got taxpayer money, whether it’s the health agency personnel who got money, or whether it’s members of Congress who are responsible for the oversight of this plan, everyone should be accountable,” Becerra said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Tavenner and Sebelius both came into their jobs with the right credentials. But they’ve made a huge mess of things.
There’s not a single argument anyone can make to defend allowing them to stay at their post for another minute.