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Hogan's nominee for health secretary to get long-delayed hearing

Gov. Larry Hogan's health secretary nominee will get a hearing Monday.

Dennis R. Schrader, the state's acting health secretary, will get his long-delayed confirmation hearing Monday.

Schrader has led the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene since December. The Democrats who run the state Senate on Friday invited Republican Gov. Larry Hogan's nominee to appear before the Executive Nominations Committee.

Hogan charged at a news conference last week that Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and the Democratic majority were dragging their feet. He charged that the Senate was leaving the department "rudderless" at a critical time, when the state has much at stake as the Trump administration and Congress debate replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Miller said Friday that scheduling Schrader's hearing for Monday was not in response to Hogan's complaint.

Sen. Bill Ferguson, chairman of the Senate Executive Nominations Committee, signaled that senators are prepared to grill Schrader about the administration's position on the national health care law known as Obamacare, which Democratic lawmakers strongly support.

"It's absolutely critical that we have a very clear position from the administration as to whether they will stand up to the Trump administration and protect Marylanders' health care," said Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat.

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