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Berwick Defends Temporary Doc Fix as States Criticize

by Benjamin Domenech on February 16, 2011

As head of CMS, Don Berwick has routinely chosen to stand by the White House on cost-shifting to the states — a method he upheld this week in defending a temporary “doc fix” which further strains Medicaid and

Critics quickly pounced on President Barack Obama‚Äôs proposal to head off scheduled cuts in Medicare payments to doctors, saying his funding method would cause serious problems…

In a press conference Monday, Medicare administrator Donald Berwick sought to reassure states, which already are struggling with Medicaid costs. He pointed out that the health overhaul law will provide more funding for Medicaid before the states feel the impact of provider tax restrictions, which would begin in 2015.

The two-year fix is of course just enough to carry you through a politically divisive election year. Berwick continued his yes-man approach when pressured on the topic by media:

President Obama’s Medicare chief deflected a question about which offset proposals he expected to receive the most opposition in Congress.

“I don’t know yet,” said Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Don Berwick. “I think there have been some very wise choices made about where the pay-fors are going to come from.”

For more on the doc fix and the president’s budget, read Michael Cannon’s latest from the Cato Institute.

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