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Though she has been acting administrator for more than a year, Marilyn Tavenner, who is leading the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, was officially nominated for the post by President Barack Obama Thursday.
Obama sent her nomination to the Senate on Thursday afternoon. Tavenner has headed CMS since December 2011, when her predecessor Donald M. Berwick stepped down. She had previous served as his principle deputy at CMS. Tavenner is also the former Virginia Health and Human Services Secretary under former Gov. Tim Kaine.
While Tavenner will continue to oversee the centers whether she is officially confirmed or not, recent history suggests she won't be. As this thorough POLITICO piece reports, the CMS administrator has become a political hot point in recent years, particularly after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed in 2010, and a nominee hasn't been officially confirmed in seven years.
While Berwick, who assumed the post via recess appointment in 2010, was often controversial for being an outspoken proponent of health-care reform, Tavenner enjoys wide support, even earning the endorsement of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Groups such as the National Association of Public Hospitals and the Blue Cross/Blue Shield praised her nomination this week.
With Tavenner at its head, CMS will be one of the most involved federal agencies as the ACA is implementing this year and next. Various subsections of the agency will oversee the law's Medicaid expansion and the launch of its health insurance marketplaces.