GOP Pounds Berwick In Hearing On Health Care

It would be no surprise if Don Berwick, at one time an even-tempered Harvard pediatrician, is now questioning his decision to become the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the rough-and-tumble era of national health reform.

Today, according to a report in The Boston Globe, Berwick got "pounded" by House Republicans who finally got their chance to grill him during testimony at a Ways and Means Committee hearing on health care. Here's an excerpt of the exchange, in which Berwick staunchly defends the new law:

Under pointed questioning, Berwick was unflappable and sounded enthusiastic, even while frustrating Republicans by refusing to offer a “yes” or “no” answer to many questions.

In one exchange, Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, pressed Berwick repeatedly on Berwick’s past praise for the British health care system.

“Is the British health care system a good model?” Camp asked.

“The American health care system needs an American solution,” Berwick replied.

Camp persisted, asking: Do you still think a government-run single payer system is the best option?

“I believe the Affordable Care Act is the right solution for America,” said Berwick.

“If I could have a simple yes or no answer?” said Camp.

He didn’t get one.

This program aired on February 10, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Rachel Zimmerman Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for WBUR. She is working on a memoir about rebuilding her family after her husband’s suicide. 



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