KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Senate OKs Sylvia Mathews Burwell To Be Next HHS Secretary

The Senate confirmed Burwell's nomination to head the Department of Health and Human Services 78 to 17, with only Republicans casting votes against her.

The New York Times: Burwell Wins Confirmation As Secretary Of Health
The Senate on Thursday confirmed the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be secretary of health and human services, which will make her responsible for delivering health insurance to more than one-third of all Americans. Ms. Burwell was confirmed by a vote of 78 to 17. All the no votes were cast by Republicans. But 24 Republicans joined 52 Democrats and two independents in voting for confirmation (Pear, 6/5).

The Washington Post: Senate Confirms Sylvia Mathews Burwell As New Secretary Of HHS
The Senate confirmed Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the White House’s budget director for the past year, on Thursday as the 22nd secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. On a bipartisan vote of 78 to 17, senators approved Burwell to lead the government’s largest domestic department, ending a quick confirmation process that was devoid of the bitter partisanship surrounding the 2010 Affordable Care Act and the changes it is bringing to the U.S. health-care system (Goldstein, 6/5).

Los Angeles Times: Senate Confirms Obama Pick Sylvia Mathews Burwell To Head HHS
Burwell, 48, will assume primary responsibility for continuing to implement the sweeping health law, which this year expanded health coverage to millions of Americans even as it remains a political flash point nationwide. Burwell did not shy from defending the law during her confirmation hearings, cautioning one senior GOP lawmaker that she would not support weakening consumer protections in the law in the name of giving states more flexibility. Burwell’s support for the 2010 health law prompted 17 GOP senators to oppose her nomination (Levey, 6/5).

The Wall Street Journal: Burwell Confirmed As Health And Human Services Secretary
Thursday's Senate confirmation of Ms. Burwell as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, in a 78-17 vote, marks a shift for an agency that has been headed by former state governors for the past 14 years and that over the past several months has been beset by the disastrous Obamacare rollout. Kathleen Sebelius, the current secretary and former Kansas governor, focused for much of her five years in the job on publicly selling the 2010 health law to a sometimes-skeptical American public. As the full extent of technical problems in the fall rollout of the law's online insurance exchanges became known, Mrs. Sebelius took a backseat to officials tapped by the White House to oversee the cleanup effort and instead traveled the country promoting enrollment (Radnofsky, 6/5).

USA Today: Senate Approves Burwell To Take Over Health Agency
The Senate on Thursday approved Sylvia Mathews Burwell to become the next head of the Department of Health and Human Services, the agency responsible for implementing President Obama's signature health care law. While Republicans continued to argue that the Affordable Care Act is a flawed act that should be repealed, Burwell easily passed the 51-vote threshold for confirmation, as 78 senators voted in her favor and 17 against (Kennedy, 6/5).

McClatchy: Senate Confirms Burwell As New HHS Secretary
The Senate confirmed Sylvia Mathews Burwell on Thursday as the new secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services by a bipartisan vote of 78-17. Burwell, the outgoing director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, was President Barack Obama’s top choice to succeed the embattled Kathleen Sebelius, who announced plans to step down as secretary in April. Sebelius, who’d served since the beginning of the administration, oversaw the shaky rollout of the Affordable Care Act, which has been a constant source of congressional bickering and a persistent drag on the president’s approval ratings (Pugh, 6/5).

Politico: New Obamacare Chief Ran Textbook Campaign
With her overwhelming confirmation Thursday to succeed Kathleen Sebelius at Health and Human Services, Burwell has already started to cultivate a friendlier relationship with Republicans -- one that could ease some of the tensions between the Hill and HHS simmering for four years over Obamacare. And her skillful navigation of what could have been a tricky confirmation process could serve as a case study for future Obama cabinet nominees, including whoever replaces Eric Shinseki at the Veterans Affairs Department (Kim and Haberkorn, 6/6).

The New York Times: Newest Cabinet Member Is Never Far From Her Roots
Senators say Ms. Burwell will need that sensibility now that they have confirmed her as President Obama’s secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The department has a work force of about 30 times the population of Hinton, and it is responsible for, among many other tasks, continuing to put the landmark but divisive Affordable Care Act into effect (Calmes, 6/5).

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