Medicare Head Defends Health Care Reform in Senate

Javi Calderon
Medicare Head Defends Health Care Reform in Senate

Donald Berwick, a physician and pediatrician by trade, made a splash into the national political arena by becoming the Administrator of Medicare and Medicaid without Senate approval. President Obama used what is called a recess appointment to avoid a lengthy confirmation battle with Senate Republicans.

Berwick can serve without Senate approval until roughly 2011 when Congress ends its session.

Needless to say, Republican’s were less than pleased, further fueling their scrutiny of Berwick’s socialist health care ideas and Obama’s health care and health insurance reforms.

Senate had yet to hear from Berwick since his appointment nearly five months ago.  On Tuesday they finally got their chance to question his vision and motives of America’s health care and medical insurance systems at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Medicare.

During the 90 minute session Senate Republicans grilled Berwick on the Obama Health Care Plan, claiming that the plan would cost an audacious $500 billion cut to Medicare which would result in lower aid for seniors.

Berwick, who is in charge of Medicare, Medicaid and the government funded Children’s Health Insurance Program, believes that the key to providing quality health care for all Americans is redistribution of resources, having the wealthy pay towards getting the medical treatment that they need.

Of course, Republican’s attacked his statements as calling for “rationing of resources”, claiming that the old will be left to suffer.

Berwick has claimed that he believes all citizens, young and old, have a human right to receive medical treatment no matter what their situation is. He does not aim to cut support for the old; his goal is to cut losses through waste, misallocation and misdiagnosis.

Berwick even stated that raising the quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries would improve the quality of care for all Americans.

The Republicans, however, were less than pleased with the short interview.  Utah Senator Orrin Hatch described the hearing as, “pathetic.”  

Several Senators asked the Committee’s chairman to schedule another hearing for after Thanksgiving, but he was noncommittal.


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