KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama’s Pick To Head HHS Draws Bipartisan Praise In Confirmation Hearing

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who has been nominated by the White House to become the next Health and Human Services secretary, also faced tough questions about the health law's implementation and the trouble-plagued

The New York Times: Pick To Replace Sebelius Draws Senators’ Praise At Confirmation Hearing
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President Obama’s nominee to replace Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of health and human services, charmed senators at a surprisingly cordial confirmation hearing on Thursday. And she even picked up a couple of Republican endorsements (Pear, 5/8).

The Hill: McCain Makes Cameo Appearance To Praise Obama’s HHS Nominee
Sen. John McCain made a cameo appearance at a hearing on Thursday to heap praise on President Obama’s nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). The Arizona Republican showed up at the confirmation hearing for Sylvia Matthews Burwell even though he isn’t a member of the Senate panel that is vetting her nomination (Al-Faruque, 5/8).

Los Angeles Times: Obama’s Pick To Head Health And Human Services Draws GOP Support
“Regardless of my objections to Obamacare, the Department of Health and Human Services needs competent leadership,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told the Senate health committee in introducing Sylvia Mathews Burwell. “I believe Ms. Burwell has the qualifications” (Levey, 5/8).

The Washington Post: Fixing Would Be Top Priority, HHS Nominee Sylvia Mathews Burwell Says
But the wide-ranging hearing also touched on some of the more contentious aspects of the law that she would be mired in: the technical problems that continue to plague the federal health insurance Web site, the unfinished job of expanding Medicaid and the president’s broken promise that people who liked their old plans could keep them (Somashekhar, 5/8).

The Associated Press: HHS Nominee Faces GOP Questions On Health Law
Burwell defended the Affordable Care Act, asserting that it has improved the economy, held down the growth of health costs, reduced premiums and expanded coverage. … Republican senators disagreed. The top committee Republican, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, warned her that Republicans hope to retake the Senate in November and scale back the law in numerous ways (Werner, 5/8).

The Wall Street Journal: Sylvia Burwell, HHS Nominee, Answers Senators' Questions
Ms. Burwell was asked about her plans to continue the Obama administration's policies in implementing the health law, including whether she would further extend canceled policies or back other substantive changes to provisions in the law, such as the requirement that employers offer coverage to all workers clocking 30 hours a week or more, or pay a penalty. The nominee gave careful, noncommittal answers (Radnofsky and Hughes, 5/8).

Politico: Burwell Gets Some GOP Boost For HHS Post
Health and Human Services nominee Sylvia Mathews Burwell began her confirmation hearings Thursday with a defense of Obamacare — and with strong endorsement from a prominent Republican critic of the health law: John McCain. Burwell made no promises to change the Affordable Care Act as she testified in front of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Democrats widely praised her while Republicans blasted the health law that Burwell will have to operate and focused on state-specific health care issues (Haberkorn, 5/9).

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Bipartisan Praise For Nominee To Lead HHS In Senate Hearing
Despite the warm reception from members of the Senate HELP panel, Republican senators had tough questions for Sylvia Mathews Burwell about implementation of the health law. Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey and CQ Roll Call's Melissa Attias discuss what's next for the nomination (5/8).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: During Confirmation Hearing, Burwell Pledges Support For CHIP
Advocates of the Children’s Health Insurance Program cheered Thursday when President Obama’s choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services said she supports continued funding for the program, which covers about 8 million low-income children whose families’ income exceeds Medicaid’s eligibility guidelines (Carey, 5/9).

PBS NewsHour: Republicans Praise Reputation Of Obama’s HHS Secretary Choice, Take Aim At Affordable Care Act 
Democrats also touted benefits of the law, and Connecticut’s Chris Murphy zeroed in on Republican governors who’ve balked at embracing key provisions, such as expanding Medicaid (Sreenivasan, 5/8).

NBC News: Hearing On New HHS Secretary Starts With Attack On Obamacare
Burwell said she hoped to win more states over to the idea of expanding Medicaid. "Both the results and the willingness for conversation are the two ways that will make progress on that front," she said (Fox, 5/9).


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