Mathews Burwell faces ACA questions from Senate committee

Office of Management and Budget Director, and Health and Human Services Secretary nominee, Sylvia Mathews Burwell answered questions on her plans for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this week at the first of two confirmation hearings, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Burwell assured Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee members that the department would not implement a single-payer healthcare system under her tenure. Her answers satisfied Sen. Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), who sits on the Senate Finance Committee. "I will vote for her in the Finance Committee," Burr said, according to the Tribune. "I look forward to her confirmation being quick and our ability to then work together to be every bit as quick."

Burwell also said the ACA's Independent Payment Advisory Board will not likely activate, as Medicare costs will likely remain below the level necessary to trigger it, according to the article.

The Finance Committee hasn't set a date for Burwell's hearing. After that hearing, Democratic leaders in the Senate hope to put the confirmation to a full Senate vote before Memorial Day on May 26, according to the Tribune.

At yesterday's hearing, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), the top Republican on the Senate Health Committee, vowed to continue pushing for changes to the ACA, and encouraged Burwell to work with Congressional Republicans to contain rising healthcare costs. "Since Obama still will be in office for the next two years, if you are confirmed, we will need your help to do that," he told Burwell.

"[Y]ou have a reputation for competence. And I would respectfully suggest you're going to need it," he added, according to the Tribune article. "The only thing that will be bipartisan about [the ACA] will be the opposition to it."

To learn more:
- read the Tribune article
- here's Alexander statement