GOP Launches Criticism of Berwick’s Nomination as CMS Administrator
On Wednesday, Senate Republicans began an attack on the nomination of Donald Berwick as CMS administrator, which Democrats say signals the GOP's intent to reignite the health reform battle and stir public fears over health care "rationing," the Boston Globe reports (Milligan, Boston Globe, 5/13).
During a meeting at the Capitol, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) criticized Berwick for his work on comparative effectiveness research. Roberts also condemned Berwick's work with the United Kingdom's National Health Service, a system many Republicans have said limits patient choices and delays care (Ethridge, CQ Today, 5/12).
Echoing Roberts' claims, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called Berwick an "expert on rationing," while other GOP senators expressed concern regarding the nominee's cost-reduction proposals and their potential impact on rural communities (Boston Globe, 5/13). McConnell said that Berwick supports centralizing specialists in urban centers, which may negatively affect rural health care systems, according to Politico (Haberkorn, Politico, 5/12).
Democrats Remain Optimistic
Despite Republican pushback, Democrats are confident that Berwick ultimately will be confirmed (Boston Globe, 5/13). In addition, Democrats have dismissed the GOP's opposition as politically motivated and similar to the tactics it used to oppose health reform legislation ("Blog Briefing Room," The Hill, 5/12).
Berwick's confirmation hearings, which the Senate Finance Committee will oversee, have yet to be scheduled (CQ Today, 5/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.