Washington Update

New Leadership at HHS

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Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced her resignation in April, shortly after the official close of the nation’s first enrollment period for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. When the federally developed online insurance marketplace healthcare.gov first launched in October 2013, Sebelius was roundly criticized for what she herself called “a miserably frustrating experience” for many Americans who attempted to purchase coverage through the exchange. Nevertheless, she was able to testify that enrollment had hit 7.5 million, surpassing the administration’s target, when she appeared before the Senate Finance Committee earlier last month.

President Obama nominated Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who currently serves as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to replace Sebelius. Obama characterized the nominee as “a proven manager who’s demonstrated her ability to field great teams, forge strong relationships, and deliver excellent results at the highest levels.” When Burwell was nominated for the OMB position a year ago, she was confirmed by a vote of 96-0.  She previously served in policy positions in the Clinton Administration and was a Rhodes Scholar.

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