Cooper choice to run health agency getting Senate questions

Dr. Mandy Cohen (left) is scheduled to begin Senate confirmation hearings today. (Photo: WNCN)

RALEIGH, NC (AP) – Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper’s pick to lead a massive North Carolina department overseeing Medicaid, mental health services and other programs is likely to get some tough questions from Senate Republicans scrutinizing her appointment.

The Senate Health Care Committee scheduled a confirmation hearing Wednesday for Dr. Mandy Cohen, secretary of health and human services.

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Cohen was a top administrator for then-President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, which many Republicans oppose.

The confirmation process is new this year after the Republican-controlled legislature passed a law subjecting the Democratic governor’s Cabinet choices to scrutiny by the Senate. Cooper sued to halt the confirmation process but a three-judge panel sided with GOP lawmakers. Cooper is appealing.

Three Cooper secretaries already have been confirmed in unanimous votes by the full Senate.

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