Twenty-three Senate Republicans joined 55 Democrats last Thursday to confirm Sylvia Mathews Burwell to replace Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services. Burwell was sworn-in today.
During her confirmation process, no senator on the two committees that took her testimony asked her any questions about the Obamacare contraception-sterilization-abortion-inducing drug mandate that Sebelius issued in 2012. That regulation is now the target of 100 lawsuits arguing that it violates the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion by forcing Christian to act against their faith.
Burwell will now succeed Sebelius not only as HHS secretary but as defendant in these lawsuits.
Burwell also evaded directly answering written questions from Sen. Pat Roberts (R.-Kan.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R.-Texas) and Sen. Mike Lee (R.-Utah) asking her if she would follow through on a commitment that Sebelius made, but never honored, to provide Congress with a list of all the health insurance plans offered on the federal Obamacare exchanges that do and do not cover abortions.
Under the “preventive services” provision in the Affordable Care Act, Sebelius issued a regulation in 2012 that required virtually all health insurance plans in the United States, except those directly secured by a church, to cover without fees or co-pay “all Food and Drug administration approved contraceptive methods, sterilization procedures, and patient counselling for all women with reproductive capacity.”