Senators postpone confirmation of Surgeon General John Armstrong
A hearing to confirm Dr. John Armstrong's appointment as surgeon general has been delayed.
Senate Health Policy chairman Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, said senators would not consider Gov. Rick Scott's top health care appointee Tuesday, although it was on the committee's agenda. A long list of bills before the committee, including a set of abortion restrictions, mean committee members won't have time to give Armstrong a full hearing, Bean said.
Armstrong has been under fire in the last year over the removal of 9,000 kids from the Children’s Medical Services program, the elimination of pediatric heart surgery standards and for supporting personnel cuts to county health departments while new cases of infectious diseases such as HIV grew.
If the Senate does not approve Armstrong’s confirmation this session, he will lose his $141,000-a-year job.
Last year, his confirmation was derailed after the Health Policy committee held up a vote because senators did not like his answers to questions about expanding Medicaid.
Armstrong was appointed surgeon general and secretary of the Department of Health by Scott in 2012. Prior to that, he was a top medical officer at the University of South Florida.
The Senate Health Policy Committee includes six Republicans and three Democrats. It's likely several senators will oppose his confirmation.