Obama Turns to Recess Appointments

GOP filibusters have once again led President Obama to turn to recess appointments: He is to name Dr. Donald Berwick to head Medicare and Medicaid while Congress is on summer recess. The decision means Berwick’s term will expire in late 2011, at the end of the next session of Congress, and is somewhat unusual since the Senate is only in recess for two weeks. Berwick, who will oversee implementation of many measures of Obama’s health-reform law, is a pediatrician and a Harvard Medical School professor, and he co-founded the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. He’s expected to be a strong voice backing Obama’s health-care plan and likely would have seen a long, painful confirmation process.