President Obama has appointed Donald Berwick, MD, MPP, a pediatrician and Harvard University professor, to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, USA Today reports. The agency controls Medicare for seniors and Medicaid for the poor. It oversees an annual budget of more than $800 billion and over 90 million participants. The appointment garnered praise from the American Medical Association, but many Republicans objected because Obama used a recess appointment to bypass the Senate’s confirmation process.

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