Yesterday, the U.S. Senate voted on the confirmation of Marilyn B. Tavenner to the position of Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. There were no serious concerns about Tavenner’s qualifications or suitability for the position. The majority of Republicans voted in favor of her confirmation. Tavenner had been endorsed as a good choice by Eric Cantor, the political leader of the House Republican Caucus.
Seven Republican U.S. Senators, however, refused to vote in favor of Marilyn Tavenner’s confirmation. They didn’t have an alternative suggestion. They simply didn’t want to vote for a candidate nominated by Barack Obama. To suit their partisan fury at Obama, they voted to allow Medicare and Medicaid to continue to drift without permanent senior leadership.
Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Senate Republicans, gave a particularly lame excuse for his no vote. He said that, if confirmed, Tavenner would have to spend too much time implementing health care reforms to allow her to adequately address needs in Medicare and Medicaid. McConnell didn’t explain how having no one at all filling the position of Administrator of Medicare and Medicaid Services would address that particular problem.
For these seven Republican senators, providing health care for America’s older and impoverished citizens seems to be less important than scoring points with their most fervent anti-Obama constituents.