KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Prepares To Grill Berwick At Senate Hearing Next Week

Bloomberg: "Medicare Administrator Donald Berwick will face critics of President Barack Obama's health-care overhaul next week, his first appearance before Congress since he was appointed in a process that bypassed the Senate. Berwick will testify at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Medicare, the health insurance program for the elderly and disabled, and the Medicaid program for the poor, the panel said today in a statement. Republicans such as the panel's ranking member, Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, for months have said they want to question Berwick on the health-care law" (Armstrong and Wayne, 11/10).

The Hill: "Berwick is scheduled to testify before the committee about the agency's efforts to protect the Medicare program from fraud, reduce duplicative care that wastes taxpayer dollars and ensure the life of the Medicare program is extended by more than a decade, according to the Finance Committee. He'll also discuss the new tools that the healthcare reform law provides to CMS to modernize America's healthcare system, including electronic health records, policies to reduce hospital readmissions and the CMS Innovation Center" (Pecquet, 11/10).

CQ HealthBeat: "Senators wasted no time in making it clear that they are polishing their pistols for the hearing. 'After the White House circumvented the Senate by recess-appointing Don Berwick to head the agency responsible for implementing the health law and avoided repeated requests asking him to appear before Congress, I'm pleased that Don Berwick will finally testify before the Senate Finance Committee,' said Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, a senior Republican on the Finance Committee who is likely to become the panel's ranking Republican in the 112th Congress. 'I hope this is a sign that the administration will be more open and transparent with Congress and the American people about the single-largest expansion of government in a generation,' Hatch said" (Adams, 11/10). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.