US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions

Harkin Welcomes Appointment of Donald Berwick to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Wednesday, July 07, 2010Kate Cyrul / Bergen Kenny (202) 224-3254

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, today issued the following statement after President Obama appointed Donald Berwick as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“Dr. Berwick is a recognized pediatrician, a talented Harvard professor and one of the nation’s most respected voices for improving the health care delivery system.  His work through the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) with St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa has resulted in a model health care system where providers deliver high-quality, low-cost care.   For this, many members of the Iowa Hospital Association support his nomination, as have many primary care providers in my home state.  

“I believe a lot of what we did in Iowa can be applied throughout the country – to the benefit of patients and providers alike – if we adjust our payment system to reward providers based on the quality, not quantity of care.  Of course, the new health reform law, the Affordable Care Act, makes critical improvements to the way care is delivered and Dr. Berwick’s expertise will be critical as we implement those reforms.

“In light of Republican arguments for strengthening Medicare and reducing waste, fraud and abuse in the system, their opposition to Dr. Berwick’s nomination is unfathomable.  So today, President Obama took an important step toward implementation of the new health reform and toward breaking the partisan politics that have stalled nominations in the Senate for far too long.”

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