GOP senator to block Obama noms over co-op closures

The closing of numerous Obamacare startups is causing a political fallout, with a Republican senator now threatening to block key nominations from President Obama.

Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said Monday that he intends to block every Department of Health and Human Services nominee unless he gets answers on the failures surrounding taxpayer-funded Obamacare insurance startups.

The Obama administration set up 23 public co-ops to help create more competition on Obamacare's insurance marketplaces. But eight have decided to shut down due to financial troubles.

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Sasse said Monday he wants to get "straight answers" on problems with the co-ops. The senator said he sought answers from HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell on the closure of a co-op that served Iowa and Nebraska earlier this year, but the response was insufficient.

He wrote again to Burwell in August asking more questions, but has not received a response. The questions include whether or not the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services knew about the financial sustainability of the Nebraska/Iowa co-op that shut down in late 2014.

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