All eyes will be on Sylvia Mathews Burwell on Thursday as the likely replacement for Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusObama's health secretary to be first female president of American University Leaked email: Podesta pushed Tom Steyer for Obama’s Cabinet Romney: Trump victory 'very possible' MORE faces her first confirmation hearing.
The event, hosted by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, will shed light on how much Republican opposition Burwell can expect as she moves through the process. A handful of rank-and-file Republican senators have already expressed support for her, signaling that the confirmation battle may lack the rancor that normally accompanies healthcare debates in Congress.
Republicans are expected to use the hearing to further hammer the healthcare law, though GOP lawmakers have been quieter on the issue in recent weeks. Read The Hill's past coverage of Burwell's nomination here, here, and here.
Hearing debacle: Republicans struggled to land punches against ObamaCare in a hearing Wednesday, as responses from insurance companies deflated several lines of questioning. Democratic lawmakers were emboldened to defend the Affordable Care Act with renewed vigor and levity, creating a dynamic rarely seen in the debate over ObamaCare. Adding to the irregularity, exits on the Republican side at a subcommittee hearing led by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) allowed multiple Democrats to speak in a row and let heavy Democratic criticism of Republicans go unanswered, a contrast with the heated exchanges of last fall. Read more here.
80 percent and up: Major health insurers said Wednesday that at least 80 percent of the people enrolled in their ObamaCare plans have paid their first premium, contrary to a report by Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee. In total, four out of five companies represented said more than 80 percent of their new customers had paid. The fifth, Cigna, did not offer an estimate. The Hill breaks down the numbers here.
Saving money: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated Wednesday that a new rule aimed at killing unnecessary or out-of-date Medicare regulations will save providers $3.2 billion over five years. The rule loosens certain physician supervision and scheduling requirements and eliminates what officials called a redundant data submission protocol for transplant centers. Read more of the regulation here.
GOP plays “Where’s Sebelius?”: Republicans criticized HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ absence from a Senate budget hearing Wednesday to discuss the agency’s funding. While other HHS heads were present at the meeting, Sen. Tom HarkinTom HarkinGrassley challenger no stranger to defying odds Clinton ally stands between Sanders and chairmanship dream Do candidates care about our health or just how much it costs? MORE (D-Iowa), chairman of the appropriations subcommittee, said he decided not to invite her to the meeting as she would soon be leaving her position. Read more here.
Senators want abortion bill vote: Thirty-three Republican senators have written to Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidHopes rise for law to expand access to experimental drugs If Gorsuch pick leads to 'crisis,' Dems should look in mirror first Senate confirms Mulvaney to be Trump’s budget chief MORE (D-Nev.) asking him to call a vote on a controversial late-term abortion bill. The senators are pushing for passage of Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamCEOs come to defense of border tax plan Trump’s feud with the press in the spotlight Senators eye new sanctions against Iran MORE’s (R-S.C.) bill which would ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy expect for cases of incest, rape or to save the life of the mother. Read more here.
Saving lives and money: An HHS report Wednesday says ObamaCare helped save 15,000 lives at hospitals around the country and taxpayers $4 billion in its first year of implementation. According to the agency, the benefits were a result of private-public partnerships developed under the new healthcare law. The study also found 560,000 fewer hospital injuries in 2011 and 2012, compared to 2010. Read more here.
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will hold a nomination hearing for Sylvia Mathews Burwell to replace Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services Secretary.
The Cato Institute will hold a discussion on ObamaCare.
STATE BY STATE:
Obamacare czar wants to make single-payer happen in Massachusetts
Louisiana anti-abortion bill advances
Illinois sets deadline for insurers to submit Obamacare applications
W.Va. governor restores some social services funding he previously vetoed
Hawk International, LLC / The Chanda Plan Foundation
Gephardt Group Government Affairs/ Delos Living
Rampy Northrup LLC/ Johnson & Johnson Services, Inc.
Rampy Northrup LLC/ National Retail Federation
Rampy Northrup LLC/ Quest Diagnostics Incorporated
Workers would rather save up for retirement than pay for health care
Obama health nominee's first task? Ward off new crises
Eight things you can do today to help stop the spread of killer ‘superbugs’
Chamber of Commerce makes ad buy supporting pro-business Republicans
WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED AT THE HILL:
DEA crackdown targets synthetic drugs
After Google win, NARAL goes after Yahoo ads