Evidently fed up with Republican stalling on the appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick as director of CMS, the Obama administration announced its intention to use a recess appointment to bypass the roadblock.
From the White House blog:
But with the agency facing new responsibilities to protect seniors’ care under the Affordable Care Act, there’s no time to waste with Washington game-playing. That’s why tomorrow the President will use a recess appointment to put Dr. Berwick at the agency’s helm and provide strong leadership for the Medicare program without delay.
Cue Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Betsy McCaughey, who will step forward to say the "death panels" will now become reality. It just drives conservatives crazy to see their worst nightmare -- health care reform -- come to pass, even as opposition to it drops away.
Ezra Klein also points out the foolishness of Republican obstruction with regard to Berwick:
But conservatives are making a serious mistake by forcing the administration to rely on a recess appointment for Berwick. Ultimately, what weakens Berwick weakens them, as Berwick, whether they know it or not, is one of the best friends they could have in the administration. That's because insofar as Berwick is a radical, he's a radical in favor of a patient-centered health-care system -- a position that has traditionally been associated with conservatives, not liberals.
This has escaped notice because political activists don't pay much attention to questions of delivery-system reform. Of the three legs that balance the health-care reform stool -- cost, access and quality -- cost and access have traditionally been at the forefront of the issue, and are both politically polarized topics. Quality, however, is a demilitarized zone: Conservatives aren't for high rates of post-operative infections, and neither are liberals.