July 07,2010

Grassley says accountability is casualty of recess appointment

WASHINGTON --- Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Committee on Finance, today commented on the recess appointment of Donald Berwick to serve as Administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“The administration has taken advantage of the fact that there’s no check on its power, with one-party control of Congress and the White House.  The nomination hasn’t been held up by Republicans in Congress and to say otherwise is misleading.  As Ranking Member of the committee of jurisdiction, I requested that a hearing take place two weeks ago, before this recess.

“The American people have a right to know about Berwick’s background, his past statements supporting rationing and government-run health care, and any potential conflicts of interest.  All of that is hidden when the confirmation process is circumvented.  Accountability to the people and transparency have been thrown overboard.  The countless decisions that Berwick will make as CMS Administrator, as the new health care law is implemented, will have an enormous impact on America’s health care system.  The law dictates adding millions of people to Medicaid and cutting over half a trillion dollars from Medicare, and this official will be responsible for the details of how all that happens.

“This recess appointment follows a pattern.  Health care legislation was written behind closed doors.  Broad new regulations have been written within the bureaucracy and issued without any public comment period.  It really flies in the face of the President’s pledge to have the most transparent administration ever,” Grassley said.