DON BERWICK, the prominent pediatrician and Harvard School of Public Health professor who headed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has officially stepped down, another victim of Washington’s hyper-partisan politics.
Berwick had been serving a recess appointment that expired at year’s end. President Obama opted for that temporary arrangement after it became apparent that Berwick was unlikely to win Senate confirmation. Since then, 42 GOP senators have vowed to block a longer term for Berwick. In the sad partisan arithmetic of today’s Senate, that meant the Republicans could sustain a filibuster and keep his nomination from ever coming to a vote.