Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Berwick Appointed to Head CMS


I wrote earlier this year about the Obama administration's plans to name Don Berwick, MD as CMS administrator. I believe he is extremely well qualified for the post and this should happen quickly. Unfortunately, with this being an election year and with there already being a Supreme Court nomination to work through, getting Dr. Berwick confirmed before the election would be close to impossible (and could actually be even more difficult after the election). CMS has been without a permanent administrator since 2006, and it is time to move forward. Using the nomination process to rehash the healthcare reform debate would not be productive.

This is why I am in favor of the President's decision to use a recess appointment to make Dr. Berwick head of the agency. Normally, I am not in favor of using the recess appointment, particularly for such an important post. But we are at a critical juncture in the history of healthcare in this country, and Don Berwick is just the person we need in this job.

Check out this fascinating interview of Dr. Berwick by KHN's Phil Galewitz. Then watch his excellent 2009 National Forum keynote speech titled "Squirrel." Don Berwick has devoted his life to improving healthcare in this country. It is now time to let him get to work...