Summer is typically a slower time in the Nation’s Capital, at least when it comes to health policy. Not so this year. Even with Congress away for the Fourth of July recess, President Obama made a controversial appointment, and HHS launched a new consumer Web site on health coverage choices, as well as an insurance plan for adults with pre-existing conditions.
The recess appointment of Dr. Don Berwick, the former head of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, as administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services made a lot of Republicans angry. For one thing, they were looking forward to using his confirmation hearings as a chance to take shots at the health reform law and its implementation. And the lack of hearings also deprives his opponents of a chance to discuss Dr. Berwick’s comments in support of the U.K. National Health Service. But Dr. Berwick’s supporters say they are confident that given some time on job, he can win over members of Congress who didn’t have a chance to vet him through the formal process.
Learn more about the reaction to Dr. Berwick’s appointment, new health reform implementation milestones, and the latest predictions about Medicare payments to physicians in this week’s edition of the Policy & Practice Podcast.
Take a listen and share your opinions:
— Mary Ellen Schneider (on Twitter @MaryEllenNY)