KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Burwell Steps Into Hot Seat

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the president's nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department, may have some goodwill, but she will still have to navigate plenty of challenges -- starting with her confirmation hearing.

Politico: Sylvia Mathews Burwell: Do’s And Don’ts
Sylvia Mathews Burwell will start her new gig with a lot of goodwill. Everyone knows she’s not the Health and Human Services secretary who fumbled the launch of Obamacare, but the competent head of the wonky Office of Management and Budget. And then, something else will break. And then, Burwell could end up the one up on Capitol Hill, taking one for the team at the next round of Obamacare hearings, just like Kathleen Sebelius used to (Nather, 4/15).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch:  Sebelius Is Gone, But The Health Care Fight Endures 
Now that Kathleen Sebelius has left her stormy post as the head of Health and Human Services, what will happen to the sweeping health care reform law that is hers and President Barack Obama’s biggest legacy? Although Sebelius’ resignation removes a symbolic target for opponents of the Affordable Care Act, and although Obama’s 2012 re-election is seen by its supporters as a final validation, the law awaits yet another voter verdict in November’s House and Senate elections (Raasch, 4/15).

Meanwhile, ABC reports on another challenge to the law in federal appeals court -

ABC News: Little-Known Legal Challenge That Could Torpedo Obamacare
While the Supreme Court considers one challenge to a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a federal appeals court located just blocks away is contemplating a separate challenge that could have much more dire consequences for the future of the law. “What you’re asking for is to destroy the individual mandate, which guts the statute,” Judge Harry T. Edwards of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said to an attorney representing the challengers during a hearing on March 25. .. The conflict at the center of the Halbig case (and three other challenges across the country) has to do with tax subsidies granted to those who seek to obtain insurance from the exchanges (de Vogue, 4/14).

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