clock menu more-arrow no yes

Senate confirms new health secretary

Alex Wong / Getty Images News

The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved Sylvia Burwell to replace Kathleen Sebelius as the head of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Burwell, who acted as the White House's budget director over the past year, will now oversee a massive government bureaucracy that deals with issues ranging from medical marijuana research to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Burwell's biggest focus, however, will almost certainly fall on the continued implementation of Obamacare.

After the disastrous launch and subsequent fix of HealthCare.gov, the agency still faces major questions about the health-care law. There's now calls from Obamacare supporters, for instance, to stop the employer mandate. There's also standing legal challenges against Obamacare's birth control mandate, which could be resolved by the Supreme Court later this month.

At the same time, Burwell is going into the position with some good news. Despite HealthCare.gov's poor launch, Obamacare signed up more than 8 million Americans for private health insurance and the uninsured rate is falling.