Sebelius Defends Berwick For CMS Post

The Wall Street Journal: HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius "Thursday rejected criticism of the Obama administration's nominee to run Medicare and Medicaid, saying Republicans were being unfair to Donald Berwick and she was confident he would be confirmed. Dr. Berwick, a Harvard pediatrician and health-quality advocate, has come under sharp attack from Republicans over his ties to Britain's national health system and past writings about how to make health care more efficient. … The pushback illustrates how difficult it is to fill the top CMS post. The body has been without a director since 2006 after Democrats stymied the confirmation of a Bush administration nominee." Meanwhile, "Republicans plan to use Dr. Berwick's Senate confirmation hearing, which hasn't been scheduled, to advance their case against the Democrats' health-care overhaul," as "[t]he White House plans an aggressive defense of Dr. Berwick, including blog postings to fact-check Republicans' criticisms" (Adamy, 6/4).

The Hill: "AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said Thursday that he sees unions as 'unpredictable partners' to Democratic candidates in the coming 2010 midterm elections. Speaking at a forum hosted by the AFL-CIO and Working America, an affiliate of the labor federation, Trumka said the labor group is focusing more on supporting candidates that are right on the issues rather than on their party affiliation. … Next Tuesday, primary day in Arkansas, is the biggest test yet of the labor movement’s aggressive push to hold Democrats accountable who were not supportive of the unions’ legislative agenda this Congress" (Bogardus, 6/3).

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