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Public Statements

Appointment of Donal Berwick

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. KYL. The editorial is entitled ``End run denies public a debate on health care.'' The point of the editorial is that while we had a very long debate over the so-called health care legislation--I think the name of the act was the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act--we never had the kind of debate that would have edified the American public on the general question of a government-run health care system versus one that was more amenable to the doctor-patient relationship and the privacy that Republicans were suggesting was a better way to go.

What the editorial says is that the President's recess appointment of Dr. Berwick obviated the kind of debate that could have occurred had he gone through the regular nomination process and had a hearing at which his views could be elicited, and we could have then debated whether he, with his views, was the right person to head the CMS, which is the entity that will be running the program.

The editorial concludes with these comments, after noting that even Democratic leaders in the Senate were perplexed by the recess appointment, noting Senate Finance Committee chairman, MAX BAUCUS, saying he was ``troubled'' by the move. The editorial concludes:

Considering how dubious the public remains about Obamacare, there is every reason to believe the Republicans really did want an exchange with the candid, erudite Berwick. The recess appointment strongly suggests the White House simply did not want to have another fight over the contentious health care issue.

Political parties can be devious. History is littered with appointments delayed to death out of little more than spite.

This wasn't one of those appointments. Dr. Berwick will head a federal agency that spends $800 billion a year. The public deserves to know what he thinks.

The point is, we would have had an opportunity to know what Dr. Berwick thinks and for the American people to express themselves on that issue through their representatives in the Senate had we gone through the regular nomination process. But because the President decided to short-circuit that while we were off and back home on our July 4th recess, and made the recess appointment, we will never have that opportunity. As the editorial notes, that is lamentable. It denies the public an opportunity they would have had to understand better what his point of view was and perhaps to have a debate about the general underlying nature of the health care bill that was passed.


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