Leavitt nominated as new HHS secretary

first_imgDec 13, 2004 (CIDRAP News) – President Bush today announced Michael O. Leavitt as his choice for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), replacing Tommy Thompson, who resigned last week. Leavitt, who served three terms as governor of Utah, has been administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) since November 2003. His name now goes to the Senate for confirmation. Some observers had expected Mark McClellan, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to be the HHS nominee. In a statement from the agency today, Tommy Thompson stressed the importance of having McClellan in his current post as he seeks to implement the Medicare Modernization Act. White House press release Leavitt had surfaced in the past few days as a possible replacement for Bernard Kerik, who withdrew over the weekend as the nominee for secretary of the Department of Homeland Defense because of potential problems surrounding his past employment of a nanny who is an immigrant. Bush noted that under Leavitt’s leadership, medical research will continue to be a priority and that the administration “will not relent in our efforts to protect the American people from disease, and the use of disease as a weapon against us.”center_img See also: Tommy Thompson received accolades from Bush and Leavitt at the announcement. “Early in his tenure, our nation went on a wartime footing and had to prepare for emergencies of a kind never seen before. Secretary Thompson led the effort to prepare the medical infrastructure for any terrorist challenge,” Bush said. According to a transcript of the nomination on the White House Web site, Utah was named one of the best managed states in the country during Leavitt’s tenure. A New York Times story called him a moderate consensus builder on environmental issues during his EPA service. President Bush said in naming Leavitt that he “is an ideal choice to lead one of the largest departments of the United States government. [HHS] touches the life of every person in this country. From the safety of our food and medicine, to the Medicare program, to preparing for any kind of health emergency, HHS has comprehensive responsibilities for the health of Americans.”last_img

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