News

President puts fresh face on Obamacare with new health secretary

President puts fresh face on Obamacare with new health secretary

HEALTHCARE HEADACHES: White House Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell speaks during an interview with Reuters journalists in Washington, on Jan. 30. Photo: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

By Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Friday he will promote budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be his next health secretary, who will preside over the next difficult phase of his healthcare law in the months before November congressional elections.

Burwell, whose nomination must be approved by the U.S. Senate, will replace Kathleen Sebelius, who became the public face of the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans plan to exploit as they seek to take control of the Senate.

But Obama made it clear he did not blame Sebelius for the problems. In remarks interrupted multiple times by sustained cheering from White House and administration officials, he praised Sebelius, saying she will go down in history for her work implementing Obamacare.

“She’s got bumps, I’ve got bumps, bruises,” Obama said.

“Yes, we lost the first quarter of the open enrollment period with the problems with HealthCare.gov. And there were problems,” he said.

“But under Kathleen’s leadership, her team at HHS turned the corner, got it fixed, got the job done, and the final score speaks for itself,” he said, noting that 7.5 million people have signed up for health insurance under the program, exceeding expectations.

Obama praised Burwell for her management skills and her help guiding the administration through a 16-day government shutdown last fall.

“Sylvia was a rock, a steady hand on the wheel who helped navigate the country through a very challenging time,” he said.

Sebelius chuckled throughout Obama’s speech, and then gave her critics some fodder by declaring there was a glitch in her speech.

“Unfortunately, a page is missing,” she said.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton and Steve Holland; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

Recent Headlines

in Sports

Mike Tyson to induct Evander Holyfield into Boxing Hall

Fresh
tyson

Seventeen years after Tyson nibbled off part of Holyfield's ear in a championship bout, the boxer-turned-actor will be on hand to salute his former foe.

in National

7 arrested in $1.6M StubHub scam

Fresh
stubhub

Police say an international ring defrauded the StubHub online ticketing service of some $1.6 million.

in National

10M American adults gained coverage under Obamacare

Fresh
obamacare

An estimated 10.3 million Americans have gained health coverage since Obamacare enrollment began, according to a study published on Wednesday.

in Sports

Thursday’s Sports Minute

Fresh
cobb

A look at the sports news making headlines today, Thursday, July 24.

in Sports

Sterling marriage ‘stress’ at issue as Clippers trial wraps up

Fresh
sterling

L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling's bid to block the team's $2 billion sale, saying his estranged wife improperly seized control of the franchise.