Sebelius: Staying at HHS 'Wasn't an Option' (RealClearPolitics)
ANDREA MITCHELL: You know, the White House has been publicly very supportive, but then there's all the sort of back sniping. This is Washington, after all. People are asking, "Were you pushed or did you jump?"
SEC. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: Well, actually, I made a decision at the election that I couldn't leave along with a lot of my colleagues who left at the end of the first term. That did not seem to be even a topic to consider since there was still one more chapter in this Affordable Care Act that needed to roll out.
And that has been one of my responsibilities as the secretary of Health and Human Services. So, staying on-- made good sense for me. I also thought that, at the end of open enrollment was a logical time to leave. There is never a good time.
There's gonna be another open enrollment. There are changes down the road. But the president and I began to talk, you know, after the first of the year. And I went back to him in early March and said, "You know, I'm really optimistic we're gonna meet the targets and the enrollment is good. While the site is working well, I think once we finish this first chapter you really should begin to look for the next secretary who can be here through the end of your term." And that really wasn't a commitment I was willing to make. And he knew that.
ANDREA MITCHELL: Did he try to talk you out of it?
SEC. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS: Well, I made it pretty clear that that really wasn't an option, to stay on. I mean, it was fair to either commit till January of 2017 or leave with enough time that he would get a strong competent leader.