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Obama Names New Nominee for CMS Head in ’12

2 Mins read

Posted in CMSCorporateHealthcare Policy & The MediaPolitics & The Law

Posted in CMSCorporateHealthcare Policy & The MediaPolitics & The Law

For Don Berwick, MD, the path to greatness as head of the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Svcs was essentially doomed from the start. President Obama’s choice to head the federal agency was one made via his executive powers, bypassing congressional confirmation and giving Berwick a scarlet letter on the forehead ever since. Sure, there were the efforts at priming the PR pump in the first year since the reform bill was signed into law — his efforts to eliminate the quality chasm in hospitals and other care settings, bringing new light and interest into so-called comparative effectiveness research to improve healthcare, and most recently, his support of a citizen-led innovation care advisory panel, of sorts, to create models of reform in cutting Medicare spending on the run-up to reform. But it was all for naught. Senate Republicans, miffed at the recess appointment at the outset, never were willing to give the new CMS head a chance. Rather than face an uphill battle with pending confirmation hearings amid a hellish re-election campaign, Obama decided to drop him in favor of a less controversial pick:

President Obama said on Wednesday he plans to nominate Marilyn Tavenner as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to replace Dr. Donald Berwick, who has never won the support of Congress. […] Tavenner, Berwick’s principal deputy, was the Virginia secretary of health and human resources. She has served as a board member of the American Hospital Association and as president of the Virginia Hospital Association.  Ms. Tavenner holds a B.S. in nursing and an M.A. in health administration, both from the Virginia Commonwealth University.

You can bet that this nominee will be a safer one — an administrator who can hold steady on policies of Medicare spending without being seen as a “rationer” of healthcare delivery whose ideas on cutting federal costs of healthcare will not be perceived as coming from a wealth redistribution model.

Related posts:

  1. Obama Has Yet to Consider Nominee to Head CMS The run up to passage of the health reform bill…
  2. Obama’s Presumptive CMS Appointee in for Stringent Confirmation Process Ordinarily, the nomination by the president of a candidate to…
  3. Obama Appoints New CMS Head The fact that President Obama is naming Don Berwick, MD,…


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