Sebelius: Staying 'Wasn't an Option'
Stepping down was entirely her choice
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2014 12:33 PM CDT
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, April 10, 2014, during the Senate Finance Committee hearing on the HHS Department's fiscal Year 2015 budget.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Newser) – Kathleen Sebelius went on NBC's Meet the Press today, where she made it clear that stepping down as Health Secretary was entirely her choice—a choice she made during the last presidential election. She didn't want to "leave along with a lot of my colleagues who left at the end of the first term," she explains. "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. ... I also thought that, at the end of open enrollment was a logical time to leave."

Early this year, she says, she started talking to President Obama about leaving. "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." Asked if Obama tried to convince her to stay, Sebelius replied, "I made it pretty clear that that really wasn't an option, to stay on." More from the Sunday talk shows at Politico.