Medicare head Berwick to argue healthcare law doesn't ration care

Medicare administrator Donald Berwick will testify Wednesday that the Democrats' healthcare law does not ration care nor cut guaranteed Medicare benefits, according to his prepared remarks.

"The Affordable Care Act does not prescribe a 'one size fits all' approach to health care," Berwick says in prepared remarks obtained by The Hill, "because health care is first and foremost about caring for unique individuals."

Berwick, who is well-regarded by most healthcare experts, has been a lightning rod for Republicans since passage of the health reform law, in part because of his past statements in favor of Great Britain's socialized National Health System. Wednesday morning's hearing before the Senate Finance Committee will be the first opportunity Republicans have to grill him since his July recess appointment.

“There are a lot of questions that he’ll need to answer next week," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said when the hearing was announced last week.

The healthcare reform law, Berwick will say, "is landmark health care legislation that is bringing comprehensive insurance reforms, expanded coverage, and enhanced quality of health care to all Americans. Millions of people across the country are already benefiting from this law, including the more than 100 million people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Because of the Affordable Care Act, the fiscal future of Medicare is stronger, new tools to fight Medicare and Medicaid fraud are returning money to the Trust Funds and the Treasury, Medicare beneficiaries have new benefits and lower costs, and State Medicaid programs have additional resources and options to expand coverage, which is especially important in these challenging economic times."