CMS Chief Testifies At Ways And Means Committee, Stays Cool Despite Grilling
During a tense hearing, Berwick defended the health law and told panel members that it is working.
Politico: CMS Chief Gets Grilling At Ways And Means
The tense, heated hearing was the first opportunity for the House to question Berwick since July, when he was recess-appointed to his post as head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Haberkorn and Coughlin, 2/10).
Reuters: U.S. Medicare Chief Says Health Law Working
President Barack Obama's chief of health programs for the elderly and poor on Thursday said the year-old U.S. health care overhaul was reducing Medicare costs and called a push by congressional Republicans to repeal the law unfortunate. Medicare and Medicaid services administrator Donald Berwick, appearing before a congressional panel, rebuffed Republican claims that the law would raise costs for people enrolled in Medicare Advantage (MA), which uses private insurance providers such as Humana Inc and UnitedHealth Group Inc, to deliver benefits (Smith, 2/10).
The Boston Globe: Health Care Official Stays Cool Amid GOP Grilling
House Republicans peppered Donald Berwick, a former Harvard professor, with barbed questions yesterday over his previous statements on patient care and his leading position in rolling out President Obama's new health care law. In Berwick's maiden appearance before a hostile majority on the Republican-controlled House Committee on Ways and Means, the GOP pounded the top administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services over his previous praise of the British single-payer health care system. GOP members also argued stridently that Obama's health care overhaul is prompting doctors to drop Medicare patients and denying seniors choices in their care (Arsenault, 2/11).
Modern Healthcare: Berwick Questioned On Medicare Advantage Figures
Several House Republicans remained skeptical Thursday of CMS Administrator Donald Berwick's statement that enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans has increased, given same-day testimony from the CMS Office of the Actuary that projects a sharp decline in these plans by 2017 (Zigmond, 2/10).
The Hill: Berwick 'Hopes' He's Put Rationing Fears To Rest
"A lot of the quotes represent misconceptions about what I believe," Berwick said. "They are selected - small lines from long papers - and I said what I believe." However, it's likely that the questioning hasn't been put to rest. Berwick was renominated for the administrator job last month, and he'll have to face a Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing in order to hold onto the top spot. Ranking member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has already called Berwick's renomination a "disappointing decision" (Millman, 2/10).
Kaiser Health News has a resource guide that includes profiles of Dr. Berwick, transcripts of his speeches about the British health care system and summaries of news coverage about his appointment.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.