WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate has confirmed a former nurse to run Medicare and other government health insurance programs with a combined budget surpassing the Pentagon's.
Marilyn Tavenner's confirmation Wednesday puts her in charge of Medicare, Medicaid, children's health insurance and the rollout of President Barack Obama's health care law.
The total budget for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is about $850 billion - around $160 billion more than national defense. Its programs cover more than 100 million Americans. Obama's health care law will add another 25 million or more.
Although the health law remains divisive, Tavenner had support from prominent Republicans.
She worked her way up to hospital executive before entering government service as Virginia's health secretary and eventually joining the Obama administration.
Tavenner's promising a business-like approach.