KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Tavenner Moves Closer To Senate Confirmation To Head CMS

Marilyn Tavenner, who has been the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services since 2011, received a warm reception from Democrats and Republicans alike during a Tuesday Senate Finance Committee hearing.

The Associated Press: Senate Approval Seen For Obama Health Care Nominee
Republican lawmakers are heaping praise on a former nurse picked by President Barack Obama to run Medicare and Medicaid, and also oversee his health care law. If the Senate confirms Marilyn Tavenner, as expected, it may be the closest thing to a truce in the nation's political wars over health care (Alonso-Zaldivar, 4/10).

The Wall Street Journal: Medicare Chief Expected To Get Nod
In recent years, the job has become so politically contentious that lawmakers haven't been able to formally confirm a head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In a hearing Tuesday to vet her for the post, Ms. Tavenner gained support from both Republicans and Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee, who said she has proved herself capable as acting administrator of the agency since late 2011 (Dooren, 4/9).

Politico: Marilyn Tavenner Soars Through Senate Finance Hearing
The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday overwhelmingly lauded President Barack Obama's nominee to run Medicare, Medicaid and even much of the health reform law. Marilyn Tavenner, who has run the sprawling Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as acting administrator for well over a year, was praised by Republicans and Democrats during her confirmation hearing, indicating that she is likely to sail through the full Senate without a reprise of the nasty politics of the health law (Haberkorn, 4/9).

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: 'Remarkably Friendly' Hearing For Acting Medicare Chief
Kaiser Health News staff writer Mary Agnes Carey talks with Jackie Judd about a hearing Tuesday regarding the nomination of Marilyn Tavenner, the acting head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, to keep the CMS top job, and when the Senate could vote on the confirmation (4/9).

KHN also offers video clips of the hearing: Tavenner Fields Questions on Leaks, Premium Costs, Future Of Medicare (4/9).

The New York Times: Three Obama Nominees Encounter No Opposition At Senate Confirmation Hearings
President Obama's three nominees to run Medicare and Medicaid, the Energy Department and the Office of Management and Budget sailed through their separate Senate confirmation hearings on Tuesday and appeared to be on track to win approval from the committees, though none of the panels voted on the nominations (Wald and Pear, 4/9).

Medscape: Phase In Medicare Pay-For-Performance, Says Tavenner
Marilyn Tavenner, the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), told lawmakers today that although the Obama administration wants to scrap the notorious sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for setting Medicare pay for physicians, the switch to a new reimbursement scheme should happen incrementally. Tavenner made her remarks during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee as President Barack Obama's nominee to be the first full-fledged, Senate-confirmed head of the sprawling agency since late 2006 (Lowes, 4/9).

Medpage Today: Tavenner Moves Closer To CMS Confirmation
Marilyn Tavenner, acting head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), received bipartisan support at a Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, taking her one step closer to becoming the agency's first confirmed administrator in 7 years. CMS hasn't had a confirmed head since Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, left the post in October 2006. McClellan was confirmed in March 2003. Since McClellan left, four acting administrators -- most recently Don Berwick, MD -- have come and gone without the needed confirmation of the Senate (Pittman, 4/9).

KHN's earlier, related coverage: The Hardest Job To Fill (And Keep) In Washington: CMS Chief (Gaul, 3/11/2012).

Also during the hearing -

Reuters: U.S. Agency To Investigate Possible Leak Medicare Rate Move
The nominee to lead a key healthcare agency said on Tuesday that the agency was investigating events surrounding a decision on Medicare Advantage payment rates that sent shares of insurance companies soaring. Marilyn Tavenner was asked about the April 1 rate decision at a Senate confirmation hearing by Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, who has said the rate decision might have been leaked to Height Securities, an investment research firm (Clarke, 4/9).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.