And, while all this is going on, there are rumors that an Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ('CMS') is about to be nominated.
The DMCB appreciates that the folks in the White House may be somewhat distracted with a host of health reform details, but that isn’t going to stop it from giving Team Obama some start-of-the-second-year-of-the-term advice:
It's been too long. It's time to get a duly empowered Administrator to lead the Department of Medicare and Medicaid Services.
While the current Acting Administrator is certainly qualified, let’s face it: if CMS is truly going to be an active partner-participant in state and national efforts at health reform, it needs a leader that not only passes muster with Congress but with the American people. The optimistic DMCB also thinks that the confirmation process could - emphasis on could - be an important opportunity to kick-start a stalled bipartisan dialog on health reform.
What’s more, it appears to the DMCB that, up until now, the White House’s health policies have been largely represented by the very intelligent but, let’s face it, lawyerly bureaucrat, Ms. Nancy DeParle. While she certainly has her capable hands full outside of the public eye, it's been too easy for those of us outside of the beltway to conclude that the President's health reform efforts have gone from disengaged to rudderless. What's more, CMS has been curiously lacking in innovation, flexibility and leadership. Case in point? The Lifemasters fiasco. There has never been a greater need for the Agency to adopt a broadminded approach to modern population-based care management than now.