At last week’s Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing, administrator nominee Kerry Weems vowed to improve CMS oversight with special attention to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and Medicare prescription drug plans.

Sen Ron Wyden (D-Ore) urged Weems to be aware of misleading MA marketing practices that benefit private-sector health care at the expense of seniors.

Weems said that his mission was to protect beneficiaries whether from unsafe nursing homes, unscrupulous insurance sales people, fraudulent equipment providers or bad medicine.”

Weems added that he would be cognizant of technical issues such as the recent computer errors that have caused Medicare premium deductions from some beneficiaries’ Social Security checks.

More broadly, Weems attempted to allay the concerns of Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont) regarding the recent testimony by Richard Carmona, the former surgeon general who testified that the Bush administration pressured him to suppress certain health reports.

“I have on many, many occasions resisted political pressure,” Weems said, adding “I would not let my office be used for that purpose.”