Sen. Carper Reacts to Change in HHS Leadership

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released the following statement in response to the announcement of Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation and the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be the new Secretary:

“I want to thank Secretary Sebelius for her service to our country for over five years, in addition to her decades of public service in Kansas. Her tenure at the Department of Health and Human Services has been a historic one that included the most significant changes to our health care system since the creation of Medicaid, Medicare and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. I have enjoyed collaborating with her over the last several years as we worked to improve our nation’s health care system, whether it was reducing waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid, enhancing quality in our health care delivery system, or expanding access to affordable, quality health care.  Her efforts to help enact and implement the Affordable Care Act have been significant.  These efforts have culminated in the 7.5 million Americans who signed up for health care plans in the marketplace exchanges over the past few months. Secretary Sebelius has called this ‘the cause of her life’ and I am grateful she devoted so much of her time and energy to making it happen. She will be missed and I wish her and her family the best as she embarks on the next mission in her life.

“As the Department continues to navigate through this critical period, it is imperative that its leadership does not falter. Fortunately, the president has made an excellent choice in nominating a leader as strong and skilled as Sylvia Mathews Burwell. Sylvia’s extensive management experience in her many years of public service in two administrations, most recently as director of the Office of Management and Budget, as well as her private sector experience, have prepared her well to take over the department at this pivotal time.  I have had the pleasure of working closely with Sylvia over the past year and I am confident in her ability to carry on the meaningful work that Secretary Sebelius began at the Department. I couldn’t think of a person more qualified to assume the important role of steward of Americans’ health and well-being.  I will work with my colleagues to see that Sylvia’s confirmation process is fair and expeditious, yet thorough.  This is a momentous period for our nation.  Despite the wishes of some, it is clear that the Affordable Care Act is here to stay for the foreseeable future. It is also true that the Affordable Care Act is not perfect, nor is it written in stone.  We can work together on common sense solutions to fix aspects of the law that are not working as well as we want it to. I would urge my friends on the both sides of the aisle to recognize this truth and seize this moment. Working together with the administration, including leaders like Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Congress can continue to improve the Affordable Care Act to better provide affordable, quality healthcare for all Americans. I am confident that Sylvia is more than capable of taking the lead on this important responsibility.”