Berwick: White House has my back

“The president nominated Don Berwick because he’s far and away the best person for the job, and he’s already doing stellar work at CMS: Saving taxpayer dollars by cracking down on fraud and implementing delivery-system reforms that will save billions in excess costs and save millions of lives,” Cherlin said in a statement.

Berwick’s past statements of support for Great Britain's National Health Service and his call for "rationing with our eyes open" created controversy when he took the lead of CMS, which manages about 100 million individuals. 

When House Ways and Means Committee Republicans grilled him about healthcare rationing views last month, Berwick said that he “abhors” rationing and has spent his career as a pediatrician fighting it.

After the hearing, Berwick told reporters that he hoped he put rationing fears aside, but Republicans have connected him to what they have portrayed as the administration’s efforts to ration care.

Berwick told reporters on Tuesday that he has not heard anything further on a possible confirmation hearing with the Senate Finance Committee, and he said he is willing to talk with any senators who signed onto last week’s letter.

The five Republican Senators who did not sign the letter included: Scott Brown (Mass.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Olympia Snowe (Maine).

Obama renominated Berwick at the end of January. Berwick's recess appointment allows him to serve through the end of this year.