Cruz: Senate Democrats ‘Demanded Kathleen Sebelius’ Head’

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Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Freedom Summit at The Executive Court Banquet Facility on April 12, 2014 in Manchester, N.H. (credit: Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Freedom Summit at The Executive Court Banquet Facility on April 12, 2014 in Manchester, N.H. (credit: Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Sen. Ted Cruz believes Senate Democrats are the ones who forced Kathleen Sebelius to step down as health and human services secretary.

Cruz told NBC News that Democrats are worried that Republicans will take back the Senate because of Obamacare.

“Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation is the latest indication of just what a disaster Obamacare is. Obamacare is the most disastrous, the most damaging piece of legislation in modern times,” Cruz told NBC News. “And I believe she resigned because Senate Democrats are scared.”

Cruz told Fox News that Senate Democrats “demanded Kathleen Sebelius’ head.”

“They are running scared because every one of them in their races across the country, they’re underwater,” Cruz said. “They’re losing because Obamacare has hurt so many millions of people.”

President Barack Obama nominated his budget director, Sylvia Mathews Burrell, to head the Health Department. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., told CBS News that Burwell’s nomination won’t “quiet the controversy.”

“They know they’ve got a math problem with Obamacare,” Blackburn told “Face the Nation.” “The numbers are not going to work out so that the program is actuarially sound, and they’re going to have to have somebody to kind of spin the numbers.”

Sebelius told NBC News Sunday that the Obama administration’s timeline for having ready the new health care law’s online sign-up system “was just flat out wrong.”

The departing health chief also said the two months when healthcare.gov was plagued with technical problems were “a pretty dismal time” and the low point of her five-year tenure. But she defended the law’s impact and said millions of Americans now have access to health care because of it.

“People have competitive choices and real information for the first time ever in this insurance market,” said Sebelius, who last week announced her resignation.

But she acknowledged the rocky rollout for the online sign-up system fraught with technical problems that left Americans frustrated.

“Clearly, the estimate that it was ready to go Oct. 1 was just flat out wrong,” Sebelius said.

HealthCare.gov was envisioned as the principal place for people to buy insurance under Obama’s health care law. But its first few weeks were an embarrassment for the administration and its allies.

“Well, I think there’s no question — and I’ve said this many times — that the launch of the website was terribly flawed and terribly difficult,” Sebelius said.

Obama set a Dec. 1 deadline to have the website repaired, a move that left Sebelius nervous, she said.

“Having failed once at the front of October, the first of December became a critical juncture,” she said. “That was a pretty scary date.”

Sebelius’ resignation comes just a week after sign-ups for insurance coverage ended, enrolling 7.1 million people and exceeding initial expectations. Enrollment has since increased to 7.5 million as people were given extra time to complete applications.

The departing secretary said she decided after the 2012 presidential election that she wanted to leave the administration but decided to stay through the sign-up period. Sebelius said Obama did not try to convince her to stay through the end of his term.

“I thought it was fair to either commit till January of 2017 or leave with enough time that he would get a strong, competent leader,” Sebelius said.

Sebelius spoke to NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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