KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Tavenner Becomes Agency’s First Confirmed Chief In 7 Years

In a 91-to-7 vote, the Senate approved President Barack Obama's pick to lead the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Tavenner, who has been the agency's acting administrator, was endorsed by Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va.

The New York Times: Acting Chief Wins Confirmation To Run Medicare And Medicaid
The Senate on Wednesday approved President Obama's nominee to run Medicare and Medicaid, Marilyn B. Tavenner, providing the agency with its first confirmed chief in six and a half years. The 91-to-7 vote showed broad support for Ms. Tavenner, a former state health official in Virginia, who was endorsed by Representative Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican leader (Pear, 5/15).

Kaiser Health News: Senate Confirms Tavenner To Head CMS
Kaiser Health News' Mary Agnes Carey talks with Jennifer Haberkorn of Politico Pro about the Senate's confirmation Wednesday of Marilyn Tavenner to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (5/15).

Los Angeles Times: Senate Approves Obama Choice To Head Medicare
In an unusual break in the partisan warring over healthcare, the Senate on Wednesday confirmed President Obama's choice to oversee the mammoth Medicare and Medicaid health programs (Levey, 5/15).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Senate Confirms Tavenner To Run Health Insurance Programs With Bigger Budget Than Pentagon
Together, the programs under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services cover more than 100 million Americans, ranging from newborns in low-income families, to people with severe physical and mental disabilities, to patients under hospice care in their last days of life. Part of the Health and Human Services Department, the agency has a budget of about $850 billion that easily eclipses spending on national defense (5/15).

The Washington Post's Wonk Blog: Medicare Gets Its First Confirmed Leader In Nearly A Decade
Obama nominee Marilyn Tavenner received a 91 to 7 vote on the Senate floor to run an agency that, since 2006, has been without a confirmed leader. Her position, overseeing a $1 trillion agency that administers health benefits to millions, has long been considered too politically volatile to fill (Kliff, 5/15).

The Wall Street Journal: Senate Confirms Tavenner To Health Agency
Medicare and Medicaid have lacked a Senate-confirmed leader since 2006, when Republican appointee Mark McClellan left. Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have said it is important to have a confirmed Medicare chief to implement the health law, which will allow currently uninsured Americans to sign up for health insurance starting in October. Coverage won't be effective until January (Dooren, 5/15).

Politico: Marilyn Tavenner Approved By Senate For CMS Post
The seven who voted no are Republican Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch of Idaho, Ted Cruz of Texas, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, Mike Lee of Utah, and Rand Paul and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. McConnell said the CMS job has too much responsibility for implementing the health law (Haberkorn and Cunningham, 5/15).

Medpage Today: Tavenner Confirmed As Medicare Chief
The office of CMS administrator has been plagued by political turmoil for years, especially since President Obama took office and health reform began playing a more prominent role in public policy. Republicans blocked the nomination of Tavenner's predecessor, Donald Berwick, MD, following comments he made praising aspects of the British healthcare system. Tavenner, a Virginia native, has worked for the past 3 years as CMS' principal deputy administrator before becoming acting administrator following Berwick's departure (Pittman, 5/15).

The Hill: Senate Votes 91-7 To Confirm Tavenner To Head Medicare, Medicaid Services
The Senate confirmed President Obama's nominee to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). On Wednesday, the Senate voted 91-7 for Marilyn Tavenner to lead CMS, which hasn’t had a Senate-confirmed administrator in seven years (Cox, 5/15).

Huffington Post: Marilyn Tavenner Confirmed As Medicare Chief
The Senate had declined to vote on Tavenner's nomination during Obama's first term and failed to vote on Obama's prior nominee, Donald Berwick, or Bush's nominee Kerry Weems. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services already provide health care benefits to more than 100 million Americans and have a budget rivaling the Pentagon's. The agency's role is growing as the Obama administration implements the health care reform law, which will reduce the number of uninsured Americans by an estimated 25 million by 2023. As head of the agency, Tavenner is charged with carrying out key elements of Obamacare, including its expansion of Medicaid (Young, 5/15).

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