Committee News

Rationer in Chief: The Confirmation Hearing That Wasn’t

Republican Staff Commentary

Jul 20 2010

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Controversy has followed President Obama’s nominee to fill the important and powerful post of Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from the start.  That is because Dr. Donald M. Berwick is an ardent supporter of the British single-payer health care system and its bureaucratic rationing of medical care. 

The unpopularity of such views may help to explain why President Obama at first hesitated to formally submit Dr. Berwick’s nomination to the Senate, leaving the CMS post open for 455 days, finally submitting the nomination on April 19, 2010.  Eighty days later, on July 7, the President reversed course, opting to circumvent the proper constitutional confirmation process and install Dr. Berwick directly by means of a recess appointment.  When an outcry arose over that action, the President reversed course yet again, on July 19, and formally re-submitted the nomination.

During the brief period between the recess appointment and the second nomination, we drafted up a fictional “transcript” of what a hearing with Dr. Berwick might look like, should Congress ever hold one.  We now offer the questions in our imaginary “transcript” as “suggested” questions for a real hearing, if and when one takes place.  The American people deserve to learn for themselves whether Dr. Berwick’s answers before Congress are consistent with his previous public statements to the effect that a “just” health care system is one that puts politicians and bureaucrats between patients and their doctors.

Download the full report below.

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