It would be no surprise if Don Berwick, at one time an even-tempered Harvard pediatrician, is now questioning his decision to become the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in the rough-and-tumble era of national health reform.
Today, according to a report in The Boston Globe, Berwick got “pounded” by House Republicans who finally got their chance to grill him during testimony at a Ways and Means Committee hearing on health care. Here’s an excerpt of the exchange, in which Berwick staunchly defends the new law:
Under pointed questioning, Berwick was unflappable and sounded enthusiastic, even while frustrating Republicans by refusing to offer a “yes” or “no” answer to many questions.
In one exchange, Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, pressed Berwick repeatedly on Berwick’s past praise for the British health care system.
“Is the British health care system a good model?” Camp asked.
“The American health care system needs an American solution,” Berwick replied.
Camp persisted, asking: Do you still think a government-run single payer system is the best option?
“I believe the Affordable Care Act is the right solution for America,” said Berwick.
“If I could have a simple yes or no answer?” said Camp.
He didn’t get one.