"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Quote of the Day: ‘Healthcare Must Redistribute Wealth’

July 12th, 2010 by mopns_admin · No Comments

In an editorial, The Wall Street Journal writes today, “Among Donald Berwick’s greatest rhetorical hits is this one: ‘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 less fortunate.’ Count that as one more reason that President Obama made Dr. Berwick a recess appointee to run Medicare and Medicaid rather than have this philosophy debated in the Senate.”

Indeed, most observers seem to agree that the main reason Obama installed Berwick without so much as a hearing was to avoid embarrassing questions about his controversial views on health care. Interviewing top Obama political advisor David Axelrod yesterday, ABC’s Jake Tapper said of Berwick, “You didn’t want to have a hearing, because he was going to be attacked.” Axelrod responded by saying, “[W]e wanted to move because we needed someone in place . . . .” On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace also made the point about the hearings, asking Axelrod, “Isn’t the real reason that Berwick got a recess appointment because you didn’t want to defend some of his controversial statements?” Axelrod shot back, “Absolutely not.”

But why else circumvent the hearing process? Berwick wasn’t even nominated until after the unpopular health care bill had passed, suggesting the administration didn’t want Berwick’s controversial musings about rationed care and his love for the nationalized British health care system to add to the difficulty of the health care debate. Even the Democrat chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, was critical of the decision to recess appoint Berwick, saying, “I’m troubled that, rather than going through the standard nomination process, Dr. Berwick was recess appointed. . . . Senate confirmation of presidential appointees is an essential process prescribed by the Constitution that serves as a check on executive power and protects Montanans and all Americans by ensuring that crucial questions are asked of the nominee — and answered.”

Sen. Baucus is quite right that questions need to be answered by Berwick. Not only does he need to explain his controversial remarks about rationing of care and redistribution of wealth through health care, his advocacy of a single-payer system, and his declaration that the British government-run health care system is “such a seductress,” Berwick also needs to answer question about how he’ll go about implementing the massive new health care law passed by Democrats. How will he go about implementing the $500 billion in Medicare cuts? Who will get the short end of the stick, and how will he decide who gets it? Does he agree with the CMS actuary report contradicting many of the core claims the Obama administration made about their health care law? And how does he feel about CMS using taxpayer money to distribute disputed statements (by the CMS actuary, no less) to seniors about that law?

Americans deserve answers to these questions. But, as Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said last week, apparently “the mere possibility of allowing the American people the opportunity to hear what [Berwick] intends to do with their health care is evidently reason enough for this Administration to sneak him through without public scrutiny.

 

Related:

Dem Senate Leader Criticizes Obama Administration’s Confirmation End Run

Obamacare: Government Gives With One Hand, Takes Away With The Other

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