KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

CMS’ Berwick In Hot Seat Again

The New York Times reports that even Democrats are acknowledging that the Senate will not likely be able to confirm Dr. Donald Berwick as the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. However, Modern Healthcare reports that the health care provider community remains in his corner. And in other Medicare news, as the GOP attempts to address the nation's "gaping debt" they may open themselves up to the same Medicare-related attacks they waged at their Democratic opponents during the last campaign season, Politico reports.

The New York Times: Rising Calls To Replace Top Man At Medicare
Members of Congress, including Democrats, have urged the Obama administration to search for another Medicare chief after concluding that the Senate is unlikely to confirm President Obama's temporary appointee, Dr. Donald M. Berwick (Pear, 3/7).

Modern Healthcare: Providers Line Up In Support Of Berwick
The nation's health care providers continue to support the Obama administration's selection of Dr. Donald Berwick as CMS administrator, despite a letter last week from 42 Senate Republicans who asked the president to withdraw Berwick's nomination. Representatives from the American Hospital Association, Medical Group Management Association, America's Health Insurance Plans and the American Public Health Association said they support Berwick's nomination to the post, which will require 60 Senate votes in the confirmation process. With 42 senators appealing that Berwick's name be withdrawn, that leaves only 58 senators before any confirmation hearings have been held (Zigmond, 3/7).

Politico: Medicare Criticism May Haunt GOP
The Republican Party and its allies funneled millions into TV ads last year accusing Democrats from Pennsylvania to Missouri of "gutting Medicare" and "hurting seniors" - charges that compelled older voters to swing en masse toward the GOP. But now, as Republicans move to tackle the country's gaping debt, they are weighing changes to Medicare - from higher premiums to spending caps - that open them to the same attacks they leveled only months ago against Democrats over the health care law (Budoff Brown, 3/8).

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