5 Questions Sylvia Mathews Burwell Could Face About the PPACA

The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold a confirmation hearing today for Sylvia Mathews Burwell — President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Kathleen Sebelius as HHS secretary.

Next week, the Senate Finance Committee (which will vote on sending her nomination to the Senate floor) is also expected to hold a confirmation hearing for Ms. Burwell, who is currently director of the Office of Management and Budget. 

Although she has strong support from Senate Democrats and even some Republicans, Ms. Burwell will still likely face some tough questions during her confirmation hearings about how she will continue the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a Politico report. Here are five key questions she will likely face from the Senate committees, according to the report.

1. Are you going to be upfront with Congress? Republicans have criticized Ms. Sebelius as misleading, saying she brushed off their oversight requests and questions during congressional hearings. They will likely want to know that Ms. Burwell will be more responsive, according to Politico.

2. How would you change the PPACA? Republican policymakers will likely want to know which provisions of the healthcare reform law she would be open to changing. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the top Republican on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, had told Politico he wants to know if Ms. Burwell is "ready to work with Republicans to repair the damage done by Obamacare."

3. How many people lost coverage and how many gained coverage because of the PPACA? Republicans have maintained that the 8 million enrollment total for the PPACA exchanges will shrink considerably once it's clear how many people lost health insurance coverage because of the law, how many exchange enrollees were previously uninsured and how many people have actually completed the sign-up process by making an initial premium payment.

4. Will health insurance premiums for exchange plans rise next year? Republicans and some health experts have predicted significant premium increases for the second year of the exchanges, and they will likely want Ms. Burwell to speak on the issue, according to Politico.

5. What do you know about healthcare? Although Ms. Burwell has dealt with health-related budgetary issues at OMB and was on the board of the University of Washington Medical Center, she hasn't worked in-depth with healthcare providers or health interests. Policymakers are likely to scrutinize her experience and capabilities.

More Articles on Sylvia Burwell:
Senate Committee Sylvia Burwell Confirmation Hearing Scheduled  
5 Main Challenges for the New HHS Secretary
8 Things to Know About Incoming HHS Secretary, Sylvia Mathews Burwell 


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