White House Sidesteps Congress With Recess Appointment of Berwick
On Tuesday, the White House announced that President Obama will bypass Congress and use a "recess appointment" to name Donald Berwick as CMS administrator, the New York Times reports. Obama made the appointment on Wednesday.
As a recess appointee, Berwick will have all the powers of a permanent appointee but serve only until the end of the 111th Congress (Pear, New York Times, 7/6). He then must be re-nominated and confirmed by the Senate (Kliff/Haberkorn, Politico, 7/6).
Berwick, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and a Harvard University professor, is best known for helping hospitals use standardized procedures to improve quality.
Berwick will be the first permanent CMS administrator since Mark McClellan stepped down from the role in 2006 and will lead the implementation of many of the new health reform law's broad changes, including expanding Medicaid and controlling Medicare costs (California Healthline, 3/29).
Impetus for Recess Appointment
Since Berwick's nomination was announced in April, Republicans have alleged that he supports rationing care and the socialization of the U.S. health care system (California Healthline, 5/13).According to White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, Obama opted for the recess appointment because of Republicans' efforts to stall Berwick's confirmation. Pfeiffer added that the appointment was necessary to continue implementing the new health reform law (New York Times, 7/6). 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.