Obama Administration Re-Nominates Berwick for CMS Administrator
On Wednesday, the White House re-nominated Donald Berwick to serve as CMS administrator, a position he has occupied since last summer, Politico reports (Haberkorn, Politico, 1/26).
In July 2010, President Obama chose to sidestep the traditional confirmation process for Berwick by using recess appointment procedures. As a recess appointee, Berwick has all the powers of a permanent appointee, but he can serve only until the end of 2011. By then, he must be re-nominated and confirmed by the Senate.
Berwick -- who served as president and CEO of the Institute for Health Care Improvement and was a Harvard University professor -- is best known for helping hospitals use standardized procedures to improve quality. Since Berwick's nomination was announced in April 2010, Republicans have alleged that he supports rationing care and the socialization of the U.S. health care system (California Healthline, 7/7/10).
Prospects for Nomination
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said the nomination is "a disappointing decision." He said, "A day after the president" in the State of the Union address "committed to coming together to move our country forward, he's chosen to re-nominate one of his most contentious nominees to head an agency that impacts the lives of more than 100 million Americans."
According to Politico, Berwick faces a "difficult" nomination because of GOP opposition. He first must testify before the Senate Finance Committee and then gain confirmation by a full Senate vote (Politico, 1/26).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.