<p>The confirmation hearings for President Obama&rsquo;s pick to head the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)&mdash;Sylvia Mathews Burwell&mdash;possessed an element of surprise: They went well. </p>
<p>Nominees are often grilled by senators about every aspect of their prior records. In this instance, many thought dynamics surrounding the Affordable Care Act could possibly politicize the hearing. Instead, Burwell garnered support from Republicans and Democrats alike and an endorsement from Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), who sits on the Senate Finance Committee.</p>
<p>Burwell, according to widespread media <a href="http://live.wsj.com/video/jerry-seib-hhs-nominee-sees-little-gop-backlash/EBDEFD57-96BC-4652-9CE2-3B77DE0EB4D4.html?mod=trending_now_video_1#!EBDEFD57-96BC-4652-9CE2-3B77DE0EB4D4">reports</a>, is a respected choice who was unanimously confirmed for her current position directing the White House budget office. Sen Lamar Alexander (R-TN), an outspoken critic of the Affordable Care Act, praised her &ldquo;reputation for competence,&rdquo; and noted that she will need it, if confirmed. Burwell previously served in the Clinton administration, and as president of the Gates Foundation and the Walmart Foundation.</p>
<p>Burwell appeared before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on May 8, and before the Senate Finance Committee on May 14. The finance panel has jurisdiction over the nomination and will decide whether to send it to the floor for a final vote.</p>