The new CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) is larger than the Defense department. It is the biggest single agency in the government. Yet, Obama used the old recess appointment trick to appoint Dr. Berwick to head it.
Why would this Medicare guy need to be appointed in such a sneaky fashion? Because he is the one who is going to ration health care.
The man is a nut. He is someone who simply cannot stop praising England’s socialized health care system. He can’t stand the current U.S. system.
But it doesn’t take an M.D. to understand the opposition to Dr. Berwick. “I am romantic about the National Health Service,” he told a London audience in 2008, referring to the British single-payer system. “I love it,” Dr. Berwick added, going on to call it “such a seductress” and “a global treasure.” He routinely points to the NHS as a health-care model for the U.S.
…in a now-notorious interview last year he said that “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care—the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”
The White House doesn’t bother to disagree. According to a “topline message points” document on his nomination that we obtained, “The fact is, rationing is rampant in the system today, as insurers make arbitrary decisions about who can get the care they need. Don Berwick wants to see a system in which those decisions are transparent—and that the people who make them are held accountable.”
…In an influential 1996 book “New Rules,” Dr. Berwick and a co-author argued that one of “the primary functions” of health regulation is “to constrain decentralized, individual decision making” and “to weigh public welfare against the choices of private consumers.”
In other words, Death Panels.
He also said:
“Any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional
He then recommended “protocols, guidelines, and algorithms for care,” with the “common underlying notion that someone knows or can discover the ‘best way’ to carry out a task to reach a decision, and that improvement can come from standardizing processes and behaviors to conform to this ideal model.” And guess who will determine the “best way”?
Such a command-and-control vision is widespread among America’s technocratic medical left, but it is also increasingly anachronistic amid today’s breakneck medical progress. There isn’t a single “ideal model” in a world of treatments tailored to the genetic patterns of specific cancers, or for the artificial pancreas for individual diabetics, or other innovations that are increasingly common.
This is nonetheless where Dr. Berwick, in his bureaucratic wisdom, will look for his “savings.” It is also where his personal view of the “public welfare” will have the power to trump the mere “choices of private consumers.”
“…The darkness of private enterprise…”
Medical decisions should be made
“…in the harsh, and admittedly sometimes unfair daylight of the press, public debate, and political campaigning.”
So he wants medical decisions to be made in the political arena. What could go wrong?
The man is obviously a nut.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the new Dr. Death:
“Berwick complained the American health system runs in the ‘darkness of private enterprise,’ unlike Britain’s ‘politically accountable system.’ The NHS is ‘universal, accessible, excellent, and free at the point of care – a health system that is, at its core, like the world we wish we had: generous, hopeful, confident, joyous, and just’; America’s health system is ‘toxic,’ ‘fragmented,’ because of its dependence on consumer choice. He told his UK audience: ‘I cannot believe that the individual health care consumer can enforce through choice the proper configurations of a system as massive and complex as health care. That is for leaders to do.’”
No one like this should ever be allowed within a thousand miles of the levers of power.