By Tom Quiner

Donald Berwick, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

The healthcare of one out of three Americans is controlled by a radical.

I wrote about this man, Donald Berwick, in my Quiner Diner’s post on May 26th.  You can read about his radical health care ideas there.  Here is the essence of his philosophy:

“I am romantic about the National Health Service; I love it.”

He was talking about Great Britain’s single payer healthcare system.  He is an advocate of healthcare rationing.  And most importantly, the President put him in charge of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The President made a “recess” appointment to put Mr. Berwick in charge of Medicare and Medicaid. His radical views wouldn’t hold up to public scrutiny if he had been properly vetted by the Senate.

Mr. Berwick’s budget is bigger than the Pentagon’s.  This is a huge job.

The American people have been anxious to question this powerful man about his socialist healthcare longings.

Will he push for a single payer healthcare system?  Americans have a right to know.

Is he going to push for rationing?  After all, here’s what he has said in the past:

“Most metropolitan areas in the United States should reduce the number of centers engaging in cardiac surgery, high-risk obstetrics, neonatal intensive care, organ transplantation, tertiary cancer care, high-level trauma care, and high-technology imaging.”

He suggests we need to cut back and ration healthcare.  Does he still advocate that as the most powerful man in healthcare today?  Americans have a right to know.

In prepared remarks at a health conference yesterday, Mr. Berwick moderated his socialist rhetoric.  He said American healthcare policy shouldn’t involve “withholding from us, or our neighbors, any care that helps” … nor should it harm “one hair on anyone’s head.”

He said that a “massive, top-down, national project is not the way” to control healthcare costs in this country.

He’s backing away from his previous rhetoric.  That’s good, but is it sincere?  After all, he left the conference without taking a single question from reporters.  He’s been in his appointed position for three months and has yet to talk to reporters and the American people about his current views on healthcare.

President Obama promised transparency.  His cynical appointment of Donald Berwick undermines his pledge.  Mr. Berwick’s refusal to engage his critics fuels our cynicism in this administration.

Until Mr. Berwick stands up and faces public scrutiny, we can only assume that he still harbors a radical vision for our healthcare system and can’t be trusted.  The President has demonstrated little respect for the American people on this critical issue.

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  1. maxine bechtel on September 15, 2010 at 6:52 am

    Right on, Tom! I agree wholeheartedly. and at the time, wrote the following letter to our Senators pointing out my objections to this sneaky move by President Obama.

    “I am outraged as I am at the President’s audacity in his recess appointment to force Dr. Don Berwick into the top spot at Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). By sidestepping the confirmation process, the White House also avoided a messy public debate over Berwick’s fanatical support for “death panels” and rationing. To justify the move, the President’s communications director said Republicans were stalling the nomination–but, as everyone with any political sense knows, the GOP couldn’t stall Berwick if they wanted to! Under Senate rules, the majority controls the committees. So it’s the DEMOCRATS–not Republicans–who decide when to hold hearings and schedule votes. They refused to do either, which should indicate just how offensive this nominee is.

    As the head of CMS, Berwick is in charge of almost a trillion dollars in benefits, not including the massive expansions of Medicaid under Obamacare. To give you an idea of how powerful his post will be, the Senate Republican Policy Committee explains that CMS is larger than many of the world’s economies!

    Obviously, the President’s decision to seat Berwick without so much as a hearing is shocking for a job of this magnitude. “It’s nearly unprecedented for an administration to recess appoint one so controversial! It’s unfortunate that President Obama saw fit to take this extraordinary step,” said Sen. John Thune, (R-S.D.), “and appoint an individual charged with overseeing a benefits budget larger than the economies of Denmark, South Africa, and Israel combined without so much as a hearing to examine his views.”

    WHAT outrageous act is next by this power-drunk Administration?”

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