On May 15, 2013, the Senate approved Marilyn Tavenner’s nomination to serve as the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Ms. Tavenner had been the Acting Administrator for CMS and had previously served as the Principal Deputy Administrator. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius remarked that Ms. Tavenner is the first CMS Administrator to be confirmed in over nine years. In her role as CMS Administrator, Ms. Tavenner’s responsibilities will include overseeing implementation of the Affordable Care Act as well as administration of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) highlighted Ms. Tavenner’s experience as a healthcare professional and noted that she “started as a nurse and quickly rose up through the ranks to become a hospital administrator. She served four years as Virginia’s Secretary of Health and Human Resources before joining CMS in 2010.” Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) noted that while he had “many concerns about the policies of [the Obama] administration and the direction CMS is heading,” he would “vote in favor of [Tavenner’s] confirmation because she has the ability and the potential to be a real leader.”

The Senate voted 91 to 7 in favor of Ms. Tavenner’s confirmation. Those voting against her nomination were Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senators Michael Crapo and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Lee (R-Utah), and Rand Paul (R-KY).