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May 26th, 2010 7:36 pm
Obama Taps Self-Proclaimed Rationing Enthusiast to Run Medicare
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In an absolutely chilling piece at RealClearPolitics today, Dr. Hal Scherz examines an Obama nominee who otherwise may have escaped public scrutiny: Dr. Donald Berwick, who’s been tapped by 44 to run the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The picture that emerges is of an individual who makes even the most wall-eyed health care fears seem credible. Here’s Scherz, quoting Berwick in the first and third paragraphs:

“Any healthcare funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent healthcare is by definition redistributional”.

Indeed, lest there be any doubt about the range of Dr Berwick’s schemes for “redistribution” – code for transferring power to the government — he makes clear how grand his vision for statist health care.

“There needs to be global budget caps on total healthcare spending for designated populations (ie-rationing)” Dr. Berwick says. “The simplest way to reach these goals is with a single payer system.”

The whole thing has to be read to be believed, but Scherz wraps it up with a nice injection of humanity:

But if Dr Berwick leaves little doubt who is going to be in charge of the redistribution, global caps, and the single payer systems, he shows with his use of words like “politically accountable” or “democratic”, the sort of verbal tic that betrays his own understanding. He seeks not broad-based, bottom-up decision-making but top-own edicts from elite panels of enlightened and, of course, “global” thinkers like himself that preempt decisions now made by doctors and their patients.

And that is what those of us who are practicing physicians find so troubling about Dr. Berwick’s nomination. We see him as a White House Rose Garden, photo-op doctor with a borrowed white coat; an academic who runs a $58 million institute, who analyzes numbers and reports and theories about populations but is now totally out of touch with his former peers and the patients that they treat every day. And this is the sobering point– Dr Berwick will not be there with us at the patient’s bedside looking them in the eye and telling them that the life saving treatment that they need is not approved because they don’t fit into the right demographic.

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