Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander was the first Republican to ask questions of President Obama’s nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. Sylvia Burwell appeared before a Senate committee Thursday.
Alexander and many other Republicans on the panel praised Burwell’s past experience as White House budget birector and as an executive at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
“Ms. Burwell, you have a reputation for competence and I would respectfully suggest you’re going to need it,” Alexander said.
The Senator says he wants Burwell to help the GOP “repair the damage Obamacare has done.” Alexander went through a list of policy proposals favored by Republicans, such as allowing people to buy health insurance across state lines.
“Senator, if I’m confirmed, that’s something I want to look into and understand,” Burwell said.
Alexander also asked about allowing people to permanently keep insurance policies, set to be canceled because they don’t meet the minimum standards of the Affordable Care Act. Burwell didn’t give a definitive answer. Alexander is the top Republican on the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. If he’s reelected this fall, and the GOP retakes the Senate, he would become the committee’s chairman.