Some surprising news came out this Thanksgiving…. President Obama’s chief of Medicare and Medicaid has resigned, nearly a month before his recess appointment ends. Earlier this year, 42 Republican Senators had pledged to block Dr. Donald Berwick’s permanent appointment, effectively ending any chance for him to continue serving as the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
A Harvard pedicatrician, Dr. Berwick came to CMS as an authority in the area of reducing the cost of care while improving quality and patient experience. However, Republicans seized comments Berwick made regarding England’s National Health Service which praised the the British system, calling it an “example” for the U.S. to follow.
“Don Berwick did outstanding work at CMS,” White House deputy press secretary Jamie Smith said Wednesday. “It’s unfortunate that a small group of senators obstructed his nomination, putting political interests above the best interests of the American people.”
The White House will nominate Marilyn Tavenner, Medicare’s deputy administrator, as his replacement. Tavenner is a former nurse and hospital administrator who has served in the Obama administration since February 2010. She was Virginia’s secretary of health and human resources under then-Governor Tim Kaine.
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