The Senate Finance Committee is holding a hearing today on the nomination of Mark McClellan as administrator of the CMS. McClellan is currently commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration. While his nomination is expected to be confirmed, some senators have threatened to hold it up because of his opposition to reimporting prescription drugs from other countries. Though patients in the U.S. are struggling to pay for drugs, McClellan has adamantly opposed reimportation, saying it poses a threat to the health of Americans.
McClellan addressed the committee, saying, "As at the FDA, I will work to ensure that careful analysis based on the facts and the science, integrity and thoughtful decisionmaking are the foundation for all of our work. We will not always agree, but I hope to make it possible for us to work together effectively to meet the challenges ahead."
Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) have said they will hold up McClellan's nomination. None are on the Senate Finance Committee, which is scheduled to vote on the nomination tomorrow. The full Senate is expected to take up the nomination this week. -- by Tony Fong