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Slipping in the Side Door

US President Barack Obama is to appoint Donald Berwick to run Medicare and Medicaid today, reports the New York Times. Berwick is a pediatrician, a professor at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, and a founder of the non-profit Institute for Healthcare Improvement. As a "recess appointment," made while Congress is out of session, Berwick's term will end in late 2011 when this session of Congress ends. The Times adds that under the US health reform bill, "Medicare will be a testing ground for many innovations that reward high-quality care and penalize providers of poor care. The law will expand Medicaid to cover 16 million more people with low incomes."