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Dem Senate Leader Criticizes Obama Administration's Confirmation End Run | Missouri Political News Service

Dem Senate Leader Criticizes Obama Administration’s Confirmation End Run

July 8th, 2010 by mopns · No Comments

The Wall Street Journal editorializes today,“White House respect for the public’s health-care views dropped another notch yesterday, if that’s possible, with its recess appointment of Donald Berwick. Circumventing Senate confirmation to appoint the new Medicare chief is part of the same political willfulness that inflicted ObamaCare on the country despite the objections of most voters.

“Even Max Baucus, the Senate Finance Chairman, issued a statement critical of this end-around. President Obama claimed Republicans were stalling the appointment ‘for political purposes,’ but Mr. Baucus hadn’t scheduled hearings and the nomination paperwork wasn’t even finished 11 weeks after he was named. Mr. Obama’s real calculation was to dodge a debate in election season over Dr. Berwick’s frequent praise for European health systems that ration care. The last thing most Democrats want now is to reprise the ObamaCare controversy.”

As the WSJ editors note, “[I]t doesn’t take an M.D. to understand the opposition to Dr. Berwick.” Indeed, he has a long history of controversial statements, the most famous of which may be his declaration last year that “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care—the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.” But that’s not all he’s said. In 1996, Berwick wrote, “I admit to my own devotion to a single-payer mechanism as the only sensible approach to health care finance I can think of.” He’s also said particularly concerning things about denial of care and end of life care as well.

Discussing Berwick’s views on rationing, The Wall Street Journal editors write, “The people who can write such things with a straight face believe there is no difference between rationing through individual choices and price signals and rationing through politics and bureaucratic omniscience. 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.’”

These are seriously troubling statements from the man who will be tasked with implementing much of President Obama’s unpopular health care law, and especially the $500 billion in Medicare cuts it features. As Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said when the recess appointment was announced, “Just over three months after passage of this misguided law, with Americans’ worst fears about it being realized every day, the fact that this Administration won’t allow the man charged with implementing the President’s plan to cut $500 billion out of Medicare to testify about his plans for the care of our nation’s seniors is truly outrageous.”


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