President Barack Obama asked the U.S. Senate to confirm Andy Slavitt as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.
Slavitt is already the acting administrator of CMS. He joined the government in 2014, after working as an executive vice president at UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s Optum unit, which helped fix the main Obamacare website, healthcare.gov.
CMS oversees health programs for the elderly, disabled and poor, in addition to handling many of the efforts tied to Obama’s health-care overhaul. Medicare covers more than 50 million elderly and disabled Americans.
Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican who’s chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said Slavitt will have to answer questions about his work at UnitedHealth.
“Mr. Slavitt’s conflicted history in the medical services industry has produced mixed results and raised a number of serious concerns,” Hatch said in a statement. “Slavitt will need to answer a number of tough questions regarding his former employer and their relationship with the agency.”
Groups representing hospitals and doctors said they were pleased by Slavitt’s nomination.
Mary Wakefield, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, was nominated to be confirmed in her position. She formerly ran the Health Resources and Services Administration.