Obama's Medicare nominee gets GOP leader's support

November 29, 2011 - 2:35 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's Medicare nominee is getting unexpected support from one of Congress' Republican stars.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia tells The Associated Press that Marilyn Tavenner is "eminently qualified" to run Medicare.

Tavenner's nomination has to be approved by the Senate, and although Cantor is not a member, he is influential with conservatives.

The White House announced Tavenner's nomination last week, at the same time that current Medicare chief Don Berwick said he's stepping down. Republicans in the Senate had blocked Berwick's nomination.

Tavenner, 60, is a nurse who worked her way up to hospital executive before becoming Virginia's health care secretary. Cantor met her when he served in the state legislature.

Cantor says Tavenner understands the value of the private sector's role in health care.