Medicare Admin. Donald Berwick to Make Long-Awaited Appearance Before Congress

Medicare Administrator Donald Berwick is due to make his first appearance before congress next week, where he will address the critics of President Obama’s Healthcare legislative reforms.

Mr. Berwick will be testifying at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Medicare and Medicaid, health insurance programs that cater to the elderly and disabled and to the poor. This will give Republicans their long-awaited chance to question Mr. Berwick on the healthcare overhaul.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the accounting arm of Congress, the overhaul will see Medicare and Medicare spending growth reduced by approximately $455 billion over the coming ten years.

Mr. Berwick was appointed while Congress was out of session, in a process that bypassed the traditional Senate confirmation process. He has said that he has no plans to testify before the House of Representatives. Sage Eastman, a spokesman for Republican Representative Dave Camp of Michigan, said in an email: “We expect to get to know Mr. Berwick very well.” Mr. Camp is due to take over Medicare’s overseeing committee, the House Ways and Means Committee.

According to Jessica Santillo, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services, Mr. Berwick agreed to testify after having been invited by Senator Max Baucus, a Montana Democrat and the Chair of the Finance Committee.