May 14,2014

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Wyden Urges Swift, Bipartisan Confirmation of Burwell for HHS Secretary

WASHINGTON –Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today urged swift confirmation for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) nominee Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

“Ms. Burwell has been a steady hand and an effective, communicative leader at OMB. She is tremendously well-respected, not only by her colleagues in the administration, but by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress,” Wyden said.  “As secretary, her central focus will be implementing and improving the Affordable Care Act, and I know she is up to the task. I look forward to working with her on this and other issues, including our efforts to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid and improve the family support and child welfare programs that play a key role in this nation’s safety net.”

During the Finance Committee’s confirmation hearing, Wyden said last year’s 96-0 vote on Burwell’s nomination to be the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) clearly signaled the respect she has gained on both sides of the aisle.

Wyden also called on Burwell to continue building on the promising developments regarding Medicare, particularly the recent slowdown in spending growth in the program and the improved transparency in Medicare payment data. Wyden also urged Burwell to work with Congress to repeal the flawed Medicare physician payment system this year and replace it with bipartisan reforms that reward the quality of care rather than the quantity. He also asked that she help work to address Medicare’s biggest future challenge – caring for seniors with multiple chronic diseases.

Burwell is the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Burwell previously served as president of the Walmart Foundation. Before joining the Foundation in 2012, she was president of the global development program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she worked for 10 years and was also the first chief operating officer. During the Clinton administration she served as deputy director of OMB, deputy chief of staff to the President, chief of staff to the Secretary of the Treasury, and staff director of the National Economic Council. She received an A.B. from Harvard University and a B.A. from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

Watch Wyden’s remarks here. The full statement is available here.