The Senate on Jan. 24 confirmed the nomination of Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson as HHS secretary by a 100-0 vote.
The vote was the Senate's second overwhelming vote of confidence in two days for a Bush health-related appointee. A day earlier, the Senate also voted unanimously in support of Anthony Principi as Veterans Affairs secretary.
As HHS Secretary, Thompson, 59, will oversee the biggest healthcare payer in the country, Medicare. He will sign off on many decisions made by HCFA at a time when many healthcare provider groups hope the agency will trim its regulatory oversight and when the Bush administration has signaled it will review many pending regulations drafted under former President Clinton.
Since 1996, Thompson has been governor of Wisconsin, where he made a name as a welfare reformer and helped design Wisconsin's State Children's Health Insurance Program.
Meanwhile, Bush has yet to name his nominee for HCFA administrator, although it is expected soon.
As VA secretary, Principi will head the largest healthcare system in the country, with more than 170 hospitals. Principi was a former deputy secretary of the department.