The White House announced Tuesday night that President Obama intends to use a so-called recess appointment to install three more administrators after 18 months of Republican obstructionism. The seventy or so unfilled appointments mentioned in the press are only the ones who have been approved in committee hearings and are languishing in lieu of a vote on the Senate floor but several hundred have not even had committee hearings. Anybody who complains about how the Federal Government is doing (or not doing) its job needs to be reminded that 99% of the government is still being run by imbedded Republicans.
The appointment drawing the biggest Republican tantrum will put Dr. Donald Berwick in charge of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Berwick, 63, is a pediatrician, Harvard University professor and leader of a health care nonprofit organization, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass., that works to develop and implement concepts for improving patient care. He's drawn support from many quarters, including the American Medical Association.
Berwick was nominated in April but no confirmation hearing had been scheduled. This post has been held open since 2006. President Bush refused to appoint anyone to the post as Republicans are dedicated to destroying Medicare and Medicaid entirely.
The decision to use a recess appointment to skirt the Senate Republicans drew their fire even though the tool had been used frequently by presidents of both political parties but was used far more by Bush. Obama last made a batch of recess appointments in March, and he made two other less prominent appointments Wednesday naming Philip E. Coyle III as associate director for national security and international affairs at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He also named Joshua Gotbaum as director of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
Dr. Berwick has been criticized by Republicans for a number of comments, including telling an interviewer last year: "The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open. And right now, we are doing it blindly." Republicans have been chanting “death panel, death panel“ even though they have no problem with the rationing done by insurance companies.
Berwick is advocating transparency and accountability in medical decisions. Rich Republicans go to the hospitals that are run by people like Dr Berwick and rank and file Republicans go to hospitals that are designed to maximize profits with no concern for patients. Republicans all think they are traveling first class when most of them are really in steerage, clueless about the iceberg and the lack of life boats.