GOP will raise rationing issue for CMS nominee
The White House last week hit back at Republican charges that Donald Berwick, the administration’s nominee to fill the top post at the CMS, favors rationed care with a heavy government touch.
“No one is surprised that the Republicans plan to use this confirmation process to trot out the same arguments and scare tactics they hoped would block health insurance reform,” said White House spokesman Reid Cherlin. “The fact is, rationing is rampant in the system today, as insurers make arbitrary decisions about who can get access to care.”
Berwick “wants to see a system in which those decisions are transparent—and that the people who make them are held accountable,” Cherlin said.
The White House counterpunch comes after a handful of key Republicans said they plan to press Berwick on statements he made in interviews that appear to be complimentary of Britain’s national healthcare system and of some level of rationing care.
President Barack Obama on April 19 officially nominated Berwick, 63, a pediatrician, patient-safety advocate and founder of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass., to lead the CMS. The move was long expected. By far the largest payer of healthcare in the country, the CMS has become a critical point of discussion in the wake of the new healthcare law.
Shortly after the announcement of his nomination, however, the Senate Republican Policy Committee released a memo highlighting comments Berwick made to a trade journal that seemingly praise the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. The U.K.’s system of government-run care became a Republican foil during the reform debates, with many GOP lawmakers comparing that system to