Harkin Says He Has No Objections to Tavenner Leading CMS
On April 24, one day after the Senate Finance Committee voted to approve Marilyn Tavenner to be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Senator Tom Harkin, (D-IA) halted the nomination of Tavenner, saying at a budget hearing “he wants answers on why funding for wellness is to be cut from the federal budget.” Yesterday, Harkin lifted his hold on Tavenner’s nomination.
Senator Harkin, who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, halted what appeared to be smooth sailing for Tavenner’s confirmation, saying he was upset with a budget decision to cut $332 million from a funding program to educate the public on health insurance exchanges. In his decision now not to impede the nomination he made it clear he has no objections to Tavenner as CMS’ top leader.
Modern Healthcare reports this comment from Harkin: “Regrettably, in recent days, the White House has made it clear that it will not reverse course with regard to its raid on the Prevention Fund,” Harkin said, according to prepared remarks. “I do not want to interfere with the important work of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. I believe Ms. Tavenner is strongly qualified to be the next CMS Administrator and that it is urgent to have an effective leader at the helm of CMS as we enter a critical stage in implementing the Affordable Care Act.”