At the risk of causing an overdose on news about Dr. Don Berwick’s departure from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — the 10 members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation, all Democrats, sent him a letter yesterday recognizing his work and apologizing for the behavior of their colleagues. Here’s the text:
We write as Members of the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation to express our deep appreciation for your willingness to undertake the difficult and important work of running the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services, especially under the adverse circumstances created by blind partisan opposition to you. We are proud that a fellow Massachusetts citizen, with the judgment and expertise you possess, was willing to put those qualities to work to improve these important public programs. We are deeply regretful that in an abuse of the Constitutional mandate that the Senate advise and consent, Republicans refused even to consider your nomination, and we recognize that you had no choice but to step aside as you are now doing. In fact, knowing that you faced this possibility, your willingness not to be deterred from trying to do the appropriate thing when you accepted the appointment in the first place, is an act of patriotism of the best sort.
We do believe that your tenure has been very beneficial, especially given the shortness of time with which you had to work, and we look forward to your continued contributions to our efforts to make medical care in America both better and more efficient.
You deserved to be treated better than you were by the hyper partisans in the Senate, and as Members of Congress, we extend our apology to you for it.