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 Viral Videos

Riding whales with kayaks

Whale Kayaking

This kayaker takes whale watching to a whole new level.

in Music

Paul McCartney recording with Alice Cooper, Joe Perry

mccartney

The Beatle is recording new material with fellow rockers and a movie star.

in Entertainment

Shia LaBeouf has September court date

shia

The actor's disorderly conduct case is adjourned until the fall.

in Music

Courtney Love wants a Kurt Cobain biopic

Musician Courtney Love attends a screening of "Rush" hosted by Ferrari & The Cinema Society on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013 in New York.

The rocker says she wants to start production in the next year, adding "It's time to do this."

in Music

Elvis’ library card, script up for sale

elvis

A library card signed by Elvis Presley in seventh grade is expected to be among the hottest items at an auction at his Memphis mansion next month.