by Michelle Oddis
President Obama bypassed Congress Wednesday and through a “recess appointment” put Donald Berwick — a leading advocate of rationing healthcare — in charge of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Berwick will now spear head efforts to cut $500 billion in Medicare and Medicaid programs. Obama claims that he issued this executive order because Republicans were wasting time and playing games for “political purposes.”
But the truth is Berwick is America’s worst nightmare when it comes to healthcare reform. Obama’s recess appointment was clearly an effort to avoid public hearings on Berwick’s controversial views.
Here are the TopTen things the Obama Administration didn’t want you to know about Berwick:
1. Donald Berwick, President Obama’s nominee to administer Medicare and Medicare, has stated openly that he favors rationing healthcare “with our eyes open.” He wants the government to be able to decide how much healthcare you and your family are entitled to.
2. Berwick believes for that healthcare to be effective we must redistribute wealth. “Any healthcare 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 healthcare is by definition redistributional,” said Berwick.
3. Berwick is “in love” with Britain’s National Heath Service. He called the British system — that many here in the U.S. refer to as “free for all, but worthless to many” — a “seductress” about which he is “romantic.”
In an op-ed published in the Washington Post in 1992 Berwick stated about Britain: “At last, a nation where healthcare is a right and carrying a semi-automatic machine gun is a privilege. Berwick also described a “utopian” future in which the government is in complete control of the healthcare system.
4. Berwick believes that ultrasounds in normal pregnancies and cesarean sections amount to an “assault” and wants to cut prenatal care programs.
“As many as 80% of hysterectomies are scientifically unnecessary, so are more than a quarter of the drugs used for ear infections, most of the ultrasounds done in normal pregnancies, and half of cesarean sections in the United States. Isn’t this, with all do respect, some form of assault and battery, however unintended,” said Berwick
5. Berwick has repeatedly expressed his support for a single-payer healthcare system. Berwick has stated that if he could “wave a wand…
* Healthcare is a common good – single payer, speaking and buying for the common good;
* Healthcare is a human right – universality is a non-negotiable starting place;
* Justice is a prerequisite to health –equity is a primary quality goal.”
6. Berwick will cut the number of cardiac centers, cancer-care centers, neonatal intensive-care units, and high-level trama centers.
7. Berwick doesn’t trust the free market. “Don’t trust market forces,” instructs Berwick. Trust “leaders with plans.”
“When you rely on incentives, market forces, competition, and upward reporting for excellence you are playing with fire. I believe it is better to rely instead whenever possible on spirit, purpose, learning cooperation and joy in work.”
8. Berwick will cut preventative care in cases such as mammograms and ultrasounds. “One over demanding service is prevention; annual physicals, screening tests, and other measures that supposedly help catch disease early,” said Berwick in a 1998 Institute for Healthcare Improvement publication.
9. On “End of Life Care,” Berwick stated in a 1993 speech that “only a minority of patients, families, and clinicians support prolonged use of life-sustaining procedures and dramatic interventions in the terminal states of illness, yet substantial use of these procedures continue.”
10. Berwick, highlights race as a factor in healthcare reform. “It’s still true that race, minority race, especially being black in our country, is the strongest critique that we have about health,” said Berwick.