President Obama to Appoint Donald Berwick to Run Medicare and Medicaid


In an effort to avoid a drawn-out nomination battle with Hill Republicans, the White House announced yesterday that President Obama will make a recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to the top spot at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). A recess appointment allows the president to move a nominee into position without public confirmation hearings. As I noted last month, Berwick has attracted attention because of his professed love for the British health care system—and, in particular, for its rationing board, NICE. Is Berwick too radical for the job? Probably not—although one never knows what he might have said under questioning. But even still, as Philip Klein argues, his lengthy public record makes it clear enough that Berwick holds far more sympathy for European-style medical systems than he does for the relatively more private system that's ruled in the U.S. And for whatever reason, the Obama administration is now attempting to push through his nomination without asking Berwick to answer for what he's said in the past.

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  1. And for whatever reason, the Obama administration is now attempting to push through his nomination without asking Berwick to answer for what he’s said in the past.

    For whatever reason? It’s call transparency. Duh.

  2. Everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state

  3. He wouldn’t even answer the written questions submitted to him, and formal hearings weren’t even scheduled by the Senate yet! This guy must be a nightmare of Van Jones, Anita Dunn, John Holdren, and Kevin Jennings magnitude.

    1. Let’s hope so. A distracted president would be nice.

  4. And it turns out that Obama has made more recess appointments (18) than George W. Bush (15) had at this same point of his presidency. I find that rather stunning when you consider the incredible majorities he has had in the Senate this whole time.

    But I guess that’s to be expected when he and his people are so far outside the mainstream of America. Imagine how many recess appointments he’s going to make after the beatdown the democrats take in four months.

    1. Don’t worry, Olbermann and Maddow will be all over this threat to American democracy.

  5. Aren’t limits to how long a recess appointment can keep a position? I didn’t think they could serve like someone who went through the consent process.

    1. Yes, they can only hold the position until the end of the term of the current Congress, which is just six more months.

      Of course all Obama has to do is wait until the next Congress goes into recess and he can do it again. The only way they could stop him would be to not have any recesses, which I believe the Congress did to Bush for a while in ’07.

  6. The appointee is SOCALIST SCUM!

  7. Presidents misuse the recess apointment powers.

    ” President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.”

    The President is allowed to appoint someone when the vacancy occurs during the recess.

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