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Boustany: Recess Appointment Circumvents Public Vetting

With last week’s recess appointment, we will have to learn Berwick’s vision for health care only after CMS decisions are rendered, a far cry from the openness promised by then-candidate Obama. Two other doctors who serve in the House and I recently wrote to Obama objecting to Berwick’s proposals that would prevent doctors from practicing in some regions and restrict patients’ access to needed medications. These concerns were never answered.

Just four years ago, the editorial page of the New York Times called such recess appointments “a constitutional gimmick” and an “end run around Senate confirmation.” However, last week the same editorial page called the same gimmick a “sensible move.” Berwick assumes control of an agency in charge of $803 billion in vital benefits so Americans rightly should expect questions to be asked and questions to be answered.

In 2005, then-Sen. Obama suggested a recess appointee lacked credibility because of the truncated term and lack of consensus. Berwick’s view of health care and his appointment without any public vetting casts doubt on his term even before it begins.

Rep. Charles Boustany (R-La.), a heart surgeon, is a member of the Ways and Means Committee, with jurisdiction over Medicare and tax policy.

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