Obama to use recess appointment to name new Medicare, Medicaid head

By Associated Press
Wednesday, July 7, 2010; A04

President Obama intends to use a recess appointment to install Donald Berwick as the head of the government's Medicare and Medicaid programs, a White House official said Tuesday.

Obama will make the appointment Wednesday, White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement. Lawmakers are out of town for their annual Fourth of July break.

A recess appointment would allow Berwick to assume the post of administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services without undergoing confirmation hearings in the Senate. Republicans have indicated they are prepared to oppose his confirmation over comments he has made, including on the rationing of medical care.

Berwick was nominated in April, but no confirmation hearing had been scheduled. Pfeiffer noted that CMS has been without a permanent administrator since 2006.

Obama last made a batch of recess appointments in March.

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