White House criticizes GOP block of Berwick confirmation - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

White House criticizes GOP block of Berwick confirmation

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says it's an example of Republicans "putting political interest above the best interest of the American people."

A spokesman was reacting today to the resignation of Medicare chief Don Berwick, who'd been the point man for carrying out President Barack Obama's health care law. He's stepping down after Republicans were able to block his confirmation by the Senate.

Berwick is a Harvard professor who is widely respected for his ideas on how to improve the health care system.

He's the most prominent casualty of the political wars over a health care overhaul whose constitutionality will now be decided by the Supreme Court.

His fate was sealed early this year when 42 GOP senators asked Obama to withdraw his nomination. He remained as a temporary appointee, and his resignation takes effect next week.

He'll be replaced by his principal deputy, Marilyn Tavenner, who was Virginia's top health care official. The White House says Obama will submit her nomination to the Senate.

The top Republican on the panel that oversees Medicare, Orrin Hatch, says senators will have to "carefully scrutinize" Tavenner's nomination.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

APNP-11-23-11 1553CST

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