Week ahead: Burwell to face first nomination hearing

Sylvia Mathews Burwell’s road to confirmation as Health and Human Services secretary begins Thursday at the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

It’s the first of two hearings set by Senate panels to consider President Obama’s nomination of his budget director to succeed HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who announced she was moving on shortly after the announcement that 8.1 million people had enrolled in ObamaCare’s health exchanges.

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Burwell appears so far to be sailing toward an easy confirmation. Rule changes imposed by Senate Democrats mean she needs only 51 votes.

The confirmation battle is part of a busy week for health issues on Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education will discuss the Health and Human Services budget.

Also Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations subcommittee will hold a hearing with leaders of large insurance providers and their trade groups to discuss ObamaCare’s enrollment

On Tuesday the committee will hold a meeting with top HHS leaders and scholars to discuss the state of biomedical innovation.

Meanwhile, the Senate Special Committee on Aging will look at the fight against cancer in a hearing on Wednesday.

Several major groups also plan to hold their annual conferences in Washington next week.

The American Hospital Association will continue its annual membership meeting Monday through Wednesday.

The National Council for Behavioral Health will hold its own annual conference at the same time.

And on Monday and Tuesday, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans will hold its Washington Legislative Update.

BakerHostetler will hold its annual legislative seminar on Wednesday, with speeches expected from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Senate Finance Committee ranking member Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and other lawmakers.

The National Council for Behavioral Health and The Atlantic will hold a summit on e-health Wednesday, convening advocates, policymakers and technical experts.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will also commemorate National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.

The Cato Institute is also planning to hold a discussion on the individual mandate Thursday.