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W.Va. native may replace Kathleen Sebelius at HHS

Associated Press photo from Charleston Daily Mail Office of Management and Budget chief Sylvia Mathews Burwell is said to be President Obama’s pick to fill Kathleen Sebelius’ post as head of Health and Human Services.
Associated Press photo from Charleston Daily Mail
Office of Management and Budget chief Sylvia Mathews Burwell is said to be President Obama’s pick to fill Kathleen Sebelius’ post as head of Health and Human Services.

WASHINGTON — Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will resign after the rocky rollout of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, and the president will nominate West Virginia native Sylvia Mathews Burwell for the post, a White House official said Thursday.

Sebelius’ resignation comes just more than a week after the end of the first enrollment period for the health care law. While the opening weeks of the rollout were marred by website woes, the administration bounced back by enrolling more than 7 million people in the new insurance marketplaces.

Having served five years as secretary, Sebelius is one of Obama’s longest-serving Cabinet officials. Her resignation comes as the White House seeks to rebound from the politically damaging launch of the health care law.

The official was not authorized to discuss Sebelius’ resignation ahead of the formal announcement and requested anonymity.

The resignation could also set the stage for a contentious election-year confirmation hearing to replace her, as Republicans seek to make the health law the centerpiece of their efforts to retake the Senate in the November midterm contests.

Burwell, 48, the current director of the Office of Management and Budget and former Wal-Mart Foundation president, is a native of Hinton in Summers County.

The daughter of Greek immigrants, she was named to President Bill Clinton’s National Economic Council in 1993 at the age of 27. She got an early start in politics, having helped her best friend’s father campaign for Summers County Commissioner when she was 11, according to a Daily Mail profile written last year.

A Harvard graduate and Rhodes Scholar, she also worked on Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis’ failed bid for the presidency in 1988.

After leaving the White House, she focused her attention on philanthropic efforts, leading global development at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation…

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