Senate Finance Committee Leaders ‘Stop Short’ Of Endorsing Norwalk As Permanent CMS Administrator

The leaders of the Senate Finance Committee, which would conduct confirmation hearings on nominations for a permanent CMS administrator, on Tuesday “stopped short” of endorsing acting agency administrator Leslie Norwalk for the position, CQ HealthBeat reports. Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said, “I think they need some fresh blood, frankly,” adding, “They just need to get a good person. You know that’s drifting because they just don’t have it.” Committee ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said that he has not decided whether he would support Norwalk as a nominee for CMS administrator. He said, “I don’t have an answer now, and the reason I don’t have an answer now is because a couple of weeks ago I asked my staff to go over all of the qualifications, how she’s been doing.” Grassley added that his staff planned to brief him on the issue on Tuesday. White House spokesperson Emily Lawrimore said that Norwalk “has done a wonderful job as acting CMS administrator” but declined to comment further. According to CQ HealthBeat, Norwalk and deputy acting CMS Administrator Herb Kuhn “appeared to be the two top candidates to take over as acting CMS administrator” after former agency Administrator Mark McClellan left the position (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 2/6).

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