Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Don Berwick, Medicare, and Congress

I'm in the hills of central Vermont, but by the wonders of satellite I just read that President Obama plans to make a recess appointment of Don Berwick as director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

As anyone with the slightest familiarity with health care knows, Don has been a visionary leader and teacher for decades. I'd had the probably quixotic hope that hearings might allow him to improve public understanding and our national political dialogue on quality, safety and value in health care. And, in a less elevated spirit, I'd looked forward to the Republican chorus of no-sayers making fools of themselves in the eyes of all of the health organizations Don has helped and inspired, many of them tucked away in red states.

But the appointment is a crucial step forward. In our cockeyed mix of private and public programs, CMS is the closest we come to a national voice. It's the crucial player in the health reform process. Don Berwick is the right person at the right time to be at the helm!

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