Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) today released the following statement in response to a letter by Senate Republicans urging President Obama to withdraw the nomination of Don Berwick to be permanent Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Dr. Berwick has been CMS Administrator since July 2010.
"The fact that Don Berwick is one of the most qualified Administrators CMS has ever had seems completely irrelevant to Senate Republicans. Don didn't come to this position after a career in the political circles of Washington, D.C. He spent his career on the front lines learning about health care from the inside out and making the system deliver better care for real people. This new round of obstructionism comes after the 79 days Republicans spent in 2009 politicizing his nomination in a casebook example of how not to govern," said Sen. Kerry.
"Republican games are especially dangerous for Massachusetts. Administrator Berwick knows the Massachusetts health care system inside and out, and he was there for our state when Governor Patrick and I came to him for emergency help to keep our safety net hospitals afloat. Thanks to Don's efforts, seven safety net hospitals in Massachusetts are now benefitting from over $400 million in critically-needed funding so they can keep delivering quality, affordable healthcare to our most vulnerable citizens.
"Don's nomination should be beyond debate. He's a dedicated pediatrician and nationally recognized expert on health care quality with decades of experience improving patient care. He's already been an outstanding CMS Administrator for the last eight months, and I urge my Republican colleagues to look at the facts instead of playing games with his nomination."