GOP Lawmakers Prepare to Grill CMS Administrator Don Berwick

Republicans in the House and Senate committees are preparing to summon CMS Administrator Don Berwick, MD, who was a recess appointment and has not testified before any Congressional committee since his appointment, according to a report by the Akron Beacon Journal.

With their new majority in the House, Republicans will have to power to summon Dr. Berwick and other officials and ask them pointed questions about the healthcare reform law, which they would like to repeal, and other issues.

"This past Congress has had no oversight over the [Medicare] director,'' said Frank Macchiarola, Republican staff director for the Senate health committee. ''He hasn't testified. The department has been unresponsive to letters from members. And it's astonishing.''

GOP lawmakers intend to ask Dr. Berwick the following:

•    Will seniors in private insurance plans through Medicare Advantage face higher premiums due to payment cuts under the law?
•    Will Medicare cuts drive hospitals and nursing homes out of business?
•    What does Medicare plan to do with new research comparing the effectiveness of selected drugs and medical procedures?

HHS officials said Dr. Berwick's views from a career dedicated to improving healthcare quality are well known, and he won't be shy about explaining how the reform law strengthens Medicare.

Read the Akron Beacon Journal report on the GOP questioning Dr. Berwick.

Read more coverage on Don Berwick.

- CMS Administrator Dr. Don Berwick Comments on Reform, System Integration, New Payment Methods

- Don Berwick Comments on Goals for ACOs and Role of Federal Oversight

- CMS Achieves 1% Cut in Medicare Advantage Premiums by Denying Rate Increases, Benefit Cuts

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