Obama nominates new Medicare chief

President Obama said on Wednesday he plans to nominate Marilyn Tavenner as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to replace Dr. Donald Berwick, who has never won the support of Congress.

Obama sidestepped the traditional confirmation process in July 2010 to make a recess appointment of Berwick.

Tavenner, Berwick's principal deputy, was the Virginia secretary of health and human resources.

"Before entering government service, Ms. Tavenner spent nearly 35 years working with healthcare providers in significantly increasing levels of responsibility, including almost 20 years in nursing, 3 years as a hospital CEO and 10 years in various senior executive level positions for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA)," the White House said in a statement.

"She has served as a board member of the American Hospital Association and as president of the Virginia Hospital Association. Ms. Tavenner holds a B.S. in nursing and an M.A. in health administration, both from the Virginia Commonwealth University."

Since his nomination in April 2010, Republicans have been critical of Berwick, due in part to statements he has made that seemingly favor the idea of holding back some medical treatments as a means to slow down rising health care costs.

In March, 42 Republican senators wrote President Obama requesting that he withdraw Berwick's nomination.

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