The head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Dr. Donald Berwick, made his first appearance on Capitol Hill last week, but what had been expected to be a long drama dissecting the Administrator and health reform turned into a one-act play.
Republicans had been itching to get at Dr. Berwick, who was recess-appointed by President Obama in July. They never had a chance to vet him or go through the motions of a confirmation vote.
But the Democrats still hold the majority in the Senate and will in the next Congress, too. Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) used his perogative as chairman of the Finance Committee to schedule just 1 hour for Dr. Berwick’s hearing. Republicans were not amused. Most complained that they were not being given enough time to query a chief who heads up an agency with one of the largest budgets in the federal government.
Take a listen to the dissent on this week’s podcast.
–Alicia Ault (on Twitter @aliciaault)