Victim of Health Care Wars, Obama's Medicare Chief Steps Aside

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Donald Berwick, the Medicare chief for the Obama administration who is responsible for implementing the health care overhaul, will step down December 2 because he cannot get a permanent approval from the Senate, the White House finally confirmed today. Obama had previously appointed Berwick, who is a Harvard professor, during a Congressional recess, but he faced permanent approval in the Senate, where Republicans weren't his biggest fans. It seems they took issue with an earlier statement he made praising the U.K.'s  government run health care. The Associated Press writes

Berwick’s fate was sealed early this year when 42 GOP senators — more than enough to derail his confirmation — announced their opposition to his nomination. That started a countdown on his temporary appointment. His resignation takes effect Dec. 2.

Berwick’s statements as an academic praising Britain’s government-run health care had become a source of controversy in politically polarized Washington. Although he later told Congress that “the American system needs its own solution” and Britain’s shouldn’t be copied here, his critics were not swayed.

Maybe Republicans should watch out though. We seem to remember the Senate saying no to a Harvard professor nominated by Obama to lead one of his new programs once before. Then she became a liberal demi-goddess. So, maybe see you soon Dr. Berwick?

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.