Will Berwick Face a Rough Fight in the Senate?

Over at the New America Foundation’s New
Health Dialogue
, Joanne Kenen, who covered Congress for more than a decade
before becoming a healthcare maven, reports that at least “one well-placed
Senate source is quite worried that this could be another knock-down drag it
out Bunningesque confirmation fight. After all the Republican talk about saving
Medicare,” Kenen writes, “we sure hope they don’t block the guy who can do it.”

Many
thanks to Kenen, who was supposed to be on vacation today, and was at home, “elbow
deep in matzoh balls and macaroons (home-made…hear that Ezra?),” while also tracking
down sources.

I
can well imagine that the conservatives will make the hearings as unpleasant as
possible. It could even turn ugly, though that would be hard:  Berwick won’t respond.
Just not his style. (If you don’t know Berwick, imagine Atul Gawnde in a
confirmation hearing where someone tries to bait him.)

Probably
Kenen’s source is right: the vetting process will be knockdown, drag out and drawn
out. But in the end, I remain confident that Berwick will survive.

In between the macaroons and the matzoh, Kenen also managed to track down Bob
Blendon, an expert on health politics and polling at both the Harvard Kennedy
School of Government and its School of Public Health. Blendon believes that a
deep schism in public perception of the
health reform legislation is not likely
to ease quickly: “The vision, or
difference in perception, between Republicans and Democrats over whether or not
this bill was the right thing to do is so wide that it’s likely to keep being a
potential issue in the 2010 elections. And the preliminary public opinion
after the bill signing is more mixed than people realize.”

Read Kenen’s entire post: http://health.newamerica.net/blogposts/2010/health_politics_forcast_volatility-29844

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