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White House Backs Berwick

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President Obama is sticking with the man he has nominated to be the next head of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The White House has issued a statement emphasizing its commitment to making Dr. Donald Berwick the permanent CMS administrator.

Berwick is now the acting CMS administrator. If confirmed as the permanent CMS administrator, he will be in charge of many of the activities involved with implementing the Affordable Care Act, the legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

“The president stands firmly behind the nomination of Don Berwick because he’s far and away the best person for the job, and he’s already doing stellar work at CMS: saving taxpayer dollars by cracking down on fraud, and implementing delivery system reforms that will save billions in excess costs and save millions of lives,” officials say in the statement.

Berwick is a professor of pediatrics and health care policy at the Harvard Medical School and also a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health. He has been president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Cambridge, Mass., a nonprofit health care improvement organization.

In the past, Berwick has praised the United Kingdom’s single-payer health coverage system, and many Republicans have argued that Berwick is too partisan to be head of CMS.

A group of 42 Republican senators led by Sens. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, recently wrote a letter to Obama objecting to Berwick’s nomination.

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