Obama renominates Berwick to head CMS, contentious hearings promised
Berwick decries Medicare and Medicaid fraud and waste in parting interview
President Obama announced Wednesday that he has renominated Donald Berwick to head the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, six months after naming him chief during a Congressional recess. The first time, Obama bypassed what promised to be contentious Senate confirmation hearings. But this week's move is expected to put Berwick back on the hot seat with many lawmakers.The lack of confirmation hearings the first time around left Republicans, who didn't approve the appointment, eager to question Berwick. As CMS leader, he eventually testified before the Senate Finance Committee in November, where he expressed his support of the Affordable Care Act during relatively brief testimony. Berwick has the approval of several healthcare organizations and has firmly supported the Affordable Care Act, a concern for GOP senators looking to repeal healthcare reform. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) called Berwick's renomination “a disappointing decision.”
Berwick has served as a Harvard University professor and pediatrician, had oversight over Medicare and Medicaid since his recess appointment, and been given authority over the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, the office that will implement the healthcare reforms.