Blackburn: New HHS Nominee Can 'Spin the Numbers' for Obamacare

Sunday, 13 Apr 2014 01:30 PM

By Greg Richter

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White House budget director Sylvia Burwell's nomination to replace Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services is raising the suspicion of Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who thinks Burwell's background might help cover the tracks of some unpleasant Obamacare numbers.

"Burwell is an interesting choice," Blackburn said Sunday on "Face the Nation." "They know they've got a math problem with Obamacare."

Though President Barack Obama in a Rose Garden ceremony touted the program's goal of signing up 7 million people through HealthCare.gov as the March 31 deadline passed, it wasn't smooth sailing. Sebelius in early March was downgrading her 7 million prediction, and it was only a last-minute push that put the numbers over the goal.

Republicans such as Blackburn still doubt the figures, pointing out that the administration can't provide statistics on how many of those new enrollees have paid their premiums or how many didn't already have insurance.

Burwell, with her background leading the Office of Management and Budget, will be able to "spin the numbers," Blackburn said.

Burwell's nomination will not quiet the controversy of the unpopular law that requires Americans to buy health insurance, Blackburn added. "What it has done is elevate some of the concerns," she said.

The GOP will continue to try to "repeal and replace" Obamacare, she said, though they know they won't get it off the books until Obama leaves office. Republicans are making the Affordable Care Act a major campaign theme in this year's midterm elections.

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