Quietly, right before the Thanksgiving weekend, Dr. Donald Berwick, President Obama's recess appointee to be the HMFIC of the CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) tendered his resignation. Berwick is infamous in these parts for being a strong proponent of ObamaCare and a huge fan of Great Britain's National Health Service. (BwD word search for Berwick, here. Damn, we love this guy).
The spin from the legacy media is that Republican obstructionism kept Berwick from being confirmed when, in fact, Berwick was never submitted for confirmation. That's odd because we can't imagine the President would believe that Berwick would have any problems defending any of these quotes in a public forum to the American people:
"It's not a question of whether we will ration health care. It is whether we will ration with our eyes open."
As you will see later, Berwick's "we" is not the fraternal, royal "we", rather a much more exclusive "we".
"Traditional medical ethics, based on the doctor-patient dyad must be reformulated...The primary function of regulation in health care, especially as it affects the quality of medical care, is to constrain decentralized individualized decision making."
Step aside Mr. Individual. There are cost curves to be bent downward.
Good god, the statist-Left have become budget hawks.
"For-profit, entrepreneurial providers of medical imaging, renal dialysis, and outpatient surgery, for example, may find their business opportunities constrained."
You can pretty much kiss medical innovation good-bye because innovation costs money (with the hope of a return (see also, evil profits)) and we now worship at the altar of cost containment.
"A progressive policy regime will control and rationalize financing—control supply."
The man is absolutely obsessed with rationing. And how is controlling supply which limits choice for the consumer/patient a good thing? We thought the idea was to bend the cost curve downward which comes as a result of more competition on the supply end. Unless, what they are really concerned with is controlling, ahem, demand, in a back-door manner.
And then there is this:
"Please don't put your faith in market forces," said Berwick. "It is a popular idea: that Adam Smith's invisible hand would do a better job of designing care than leaders with plans can do. I do not agree. I find little evidence anywhere that market forces, bluntly used, that is, just consumer choice among an array of products with competitors' fighting it out, leads to the health care system that you want and need. In the US, competition has become toxic. . . . Do not trust market forces to give you the system you need. . . . I cannot believe that the individual health care consumer can enforce through choice the proper configurations of a system as massive and complex as health care. That is for leaders to do." Berwick, as head of CMS, sought to be one of these "leaders with plans."
Translation: "You're too stupid to make health care decisions for yourself and your family. That's why people like myself and others in the benevolent ruling class are here to figure it all out for you."
Berwick has a point, though: our current healthcare system is so byzantine and so divorced from cost-price transparency, it's almost as if we need diviners' of Berwick's obviously massive intellect to guide us. Unfortunately, if you have been following this blog for any length of time, you know the 2,200 page ObamaCare has not only done nothing to improve the situation but will only perpetuate an increasingly hopeless situation.
At the end of the day, the quotes above reveal Berwick to be a dangerously un-democratic individual. Those are not the words of a man who believes in self-determination, individual choice or free will: American values, all. He is collectivist autocrat drunk on the assumption of his own moral and intellectual superiority who worships at the altar of the state.
There was no way in hell this guy would survive a confirmation hearing and worse, a public confirmation hearing would lay bare many of the counter-intuitive and completely bogus underpinnings that justify and rationalize ObamaCare. Rather than being rode out of town on a rail as he should, it figures that the President let this loser slip out of town under cover of darkness just ahead of a holiday weekend.