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Debut Hearing for HHS Nominee Suggests Smooth Path to Confirmation

McCain introduces Burwell to Senate health committee, says OMB director qualified to take over from Sebelius.

by
Bill Straub

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May 8, 2014 - 8:10 pm
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WASHINGTON – President Obama’s choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services received a cordial reception at a Senate hearing on Thursday despite differing with panel Republicans over the impact of the Affordable Care Act.

Sylvia Burwell, currently serving as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee that the department’s effort to ensure accessible, affordable, quality healthcare through what is popularly known as Obamacare “is making a positive difference in the lives of our families and our communities while strengthening the economy.”

“Because of the law, millions of Americans now have new benefits, new protections, and new health coverage,” she said. “The Congressional Budget Office recently affirmed that the ACA is working to lower healthcare cost growth, make individual market premiums affordable, increase coverage and reduce the federal deficit.”

The healthcare reform law, which passed in 2010, is one of the most controversial federal laws passed in recent times and the GOP is constantly trying to either repeal it or replace it with legislation more to their liking. Basically, it requires all Americans to obtain health insurance, providing subsidies to those who might otherwise be unable to afford it, and mandates that larger employers provide a health insurance benefit for their full-time workers.

As a result of Obamacare, the White House maintains, there are 4.8 million new Medicaid enrollees and more than 8 million more Americans have signed up for health insurance.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the committee’s ranking member, told Burwell that Republicans “want to repair the damage Obamacare has done and prevent future damage.”

“As responsibly and rapidly as we can, we want to move in a different direction to put in place proposals that provide more freedom, more choices and lower costs,” Alexander said. “We trust Americans to make these decisions for ourselves. That is the American way.”

Alexander said Republicans warned the White House and the public four years ago that Obamacare would “increase the cost of healthcare, people would lose their choice of doctors, policies would be canceled, people would lose jobs, taxes would go up and Medicare beneficiaries would be harmed.”

“All of these things have happened,” Alexander said, and urged Burwell to support GOP proposals.

The committee session was not a confirmation hearing – that will come before the Senate Finance Committee at a later, unspecified date. But if Thursday’s meeting is any indication, it appears Burwell will have a clear path to succeed Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who is resigning from the $1 trillion agency.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who introduced Burwell to the panel, noted that there exists a disagreement over the efficacy of the Affordable Care Act but he intends to vote for her confirmation when the opportunity presents itself.

“Regardless of my objections to Obamacare, the Department of Health and Human Services needs competent leadership in the position of secretary,” McCain said. “I believe Ms. Burwell has the qualifications to run HHS and have been assured that she will work with members of Congress and be more responsive to its members than her predecessor.”

“When Sylvia was nominated to be director of the OMB, I said that position ‘is perhaps the toughest job in Washington,’” McCain said. “The position for which she is currently nominated is perhaps the most thankless.”

McCain wasn’t the lone Republican to express support.

Top Rated Comments   
Look everyone. Benghazi!

Don't mind us over here. We're not up to anything. What's that? No, no, no we're not going to be helping Obamacare be implemented... Whatever gave you...

Select Committee!

Yeah, that's the ticket! We're fighting hard for ya in all our media appearances (Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi). Now just vote for Lindsay in his primary and shut up, we've got a complex law to manage here.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (12)
All Comments   (12)
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11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Because of the law...new health coverage". THAT's what I did wrong...I had Medical Insurance BEFORE Obamacare cancelled it & shoved their inferior product up my toosh...if I never had coverage before, I might think O'care is a "good thing" too!! Silly me!!
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Another Chic...bad news...must be planning something extra-ultra evil with this one....

The pre-emptive "you cant hit a GUUUURL!" tells me all I need to know
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
In order for something to die, you have to KILL IT !
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
The job's not done till Obamacare is Dead !
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
“Because of the law, millions of Americans now have new benefits, new protections, and new health coverage,” she said. <===

We did all that for mere millions? A little short of the 48 million uninsured isn't it?
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Juan McCain stated John Kerry was qualified for Secretary of State. How is that working out for the American people?

Let's not go into Juan's argument about the Ukraine or arming the free Syrian Army. Who's side is he on?
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was wrong when I said he was brainwashed, you cannot brainwash a man without a brain.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Look everyone. Benghazi!

Don't mind us over here. We're not up to anything. What's that? No, no, no we're not going to be helping Obamacare be implemented... Whatever gave you...

Select Committee!

Yeah, that's the ticket! We're fighting hard for ya in all our media appearances (Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi). Now just vote for Lindsay in his primary and shut up, we've got a complex law to manage here.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mahatmacane: "“I believe Ms. Burwell has the qualifications to run HHS and have been assured that she will work with members of Congress and be more responsive to its members than her predecessor.”

My dog would be more responsive to Congress than Syphbalius was.
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
If dear liar and his all-white counterpart "maclame" are pushing this woman she is undoubtedly flawed!
And by the way, wasn't it the OMB that published some blatant lies about what this travesty called obamacare would actually cost and the positive effects it would have on the economy? Yep, we are in the best of hands alright!
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
"wasn't it the OMB..."? Yes, that's what qualifies her to run Obamacare...she's already good at lying about it!!
11 weeks ago
11 weeks ago Link To Comment
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