Medical Groups Back Medicare Nominee BerwickThe New York Times: About 90 groups, including medical societies, patient and employer groups, all backed the nomination of Donald Berwick, a physician and health care quality advocate, to lead the federal Medicare agency. "Among those signing the letter were the National Business Group on Health, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and Families USA." One conspicuous absence: America's Health Insurance Plans, an industry group. The group says it declined to sign similar letters for past nominees to the agency, and noted Berwick's "long track record" on "quality issues." Berwick has been criticized by Republicans who imply he may favor "rationing" in health care (Abelson, 6/30).
The Hill: "Premier healthcare alliance, an enormous provider network, this week threw its considerable weight behind President Obama's pick to head Medicare, arguing that Donald Berwick is 'the ideal candidate' to lead the agency and should be approved 'as soon as possible.'" That message of support comes on top of the letter by the 90 groups to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., who chairs the relevant committee. Republicans have been holding up the nomination process, a move Premier called a mistake (Lillis, 6/30).
CQ HealthBeat: Even though the Obama administration is "making progress" in fending off GOP assertions that Berwick supports rationing, "Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus is treating the charges carefully; he strongly backs Berwick, but is wary of giving Republicans a platform for their arguments and is in no hurry to schedule a confirmation hearing" (Reichard, 6/30). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.