This is excellent use of the recess appointment.
With Congress officially on recess, President Obama will on Wednesday use his ability to make recess appointments to name one of his more controversial nominees: Donald Berwick, nominee to be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
The April nomination of Berwick -- president and chief executive officer of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement -- was in trouble and might not have been able to meet Senate confirmation due to comments Berwick made in the past about rationing health care. Even if Berwick could have been confirmed by the Senate, Democrats have little appetite for another round of fighting about changes to the health care system, Democrats said.
In an interview last year with Biotechnology Healthcare, Berwick said society makes decisions about rationing all the time, and that the "decision is not whether or not we will ration care -- the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open. And right now, we are doing it blindly."
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services oversees approximately one third of all health care spending in the United States, more than $800 billion. Becker's nomination had been endorsed by President George W. Bush's two CMS administrators, Mark McClellan and Tom Scully, the American Hospital Association, the AARP, and others.
Berwick's arguments that rationing care on the basis of ability to pay, something no other developed nation relies upon as a delivery system for health care, is a bad idea are only controversial if you're a Republican. Berwick has also expressed admiration for the British health system, saying it had "developed very good and very disciplined, scientifically grounded, policy-connected models for the evaluation of medical treatments from which we ought to learn."
Which, of course, is socialism as far as the
neanderthal Republican wing of the Senate is concerned. At any given opportunity over the past several months, they've taken to the Senate floor to bleat about death panels, using his pending appointment as their excuse.
For more discussion on this, see geomoo's diary. - Barbara Morrill