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 Local

Extra Police Patrols for Labor Day Weekend

9-3-15 KEEP DRIVING SOBER

"Drive Sober, or Get Pulled Over."

in Local

Sangamon Co. Clerk Disputes Voter Roll Study

sangamon_county_building_2

Sangamon County Clerk Don Gray says don't believe what you read when it comes to alleged analysis of the county's voter rolls by the Public Interest Legal Foundation.

in Local

CWLP Bond Rating Analyzed

cwlp

City Water Light and Power says Moody's Investors Service is keeping the electric utility bond rating at A3.

in Local

Durbin: Enough Votes Supporting Iran Nuclear Deal

IRAN VOTE

Democrats in the U.S. Senate have enough votes to uphold a preserve the Iran nuclear deal, but U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is aiming for a higher goal.

in Local

Video Recovered That Could Help Manhunt

FOX LAKE AP

Authorities believe they've recovered video that will help the investigation into who killed a Fox Lake police officer.