The agency overseeing implementation of most of the 2010 healthcare overhaul may finally be getting a confirmed leader, and it comes at a critical time for that complex effort and the future of Medicare and Medicaid.
Acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner's April 9 confirmation hearing as CMS administrator puts her on course to become its first Senate-approved leader in more than six years.
“Considering CMS' current goals of ACA and Medicare reform implementation, there never has been a more important time in the history of the agency to have a leader with the full authority which comes with U.S. Senate approval as administrator,” said Chip Kahn, president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals.
The political outlook for Tavenner remains unclear. In recent weeks, Senate Republicans have voiced cautious optimism that they could support her but none have promised to do so. They have sufficient votes to filibuster Tavenner if they choose that tactic.
Tom Miller, scholar at the libertarian American Enterprise Institute, told Modern Healthcare that Tavenner’s path may have been eased by the Obama administration’s recent reversal of planned cuts to Medicare Advantage plans, which Republicans feared would lead to mass dissolution of the popular plans. “The only question is whether another senator or two needs to exact an additional pound of political flesh before grudgingly waiving Tavenner through,” he said.