Tomorrow’s post will bring to you an article of mine that originally appeared on American Thinker. The piece sums up how Harvard Professor Donald Berwick, if confirmed as Obama’s appointee to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, will change the face of American health care decidedly for the worse. For now, here’s a preview into some of the disturbing ideas of the wildly theoretical Berwick.
In an address before employees of the UK’s National Health Service, Berwick giddily declared:
If you’re a cynic, you’ll want to go get a cup of tea about now. I am going to annoy you, because I am not a cynic. I am romantic about the NHS; I love it. All I need to do to rediscover the romance is to look at health care in my own country.
The doctor was utterly serious. Berwick’s infatuation with the dismal British system does not bode well for Americans should the Senate approve the man to run Medicare and Medicaid. An indication of Berwick’s closed thinking occurs in the following statement:
We [the United States] spend 17% of our Gross Domestic Product on health care – compared with your [the UK] 9%. And, yet we have almost 50 million Americans, one in seven, who do not have health insurance.
Amazing, ideology-induced blindness. Berwick doesn’t see logical possibilities that fall outside of the progressive, big government, nanny-state worldview. For isn’t it likely that because America spends 2X what the UK spends that everyone receives health care even though not everyone is insured? Isn’t it likely that the lower quality care, longer lines, higher mortality rates of the NHS are caused by lower spending?
In the speech, Berwick relentlessly picked apart America’s excellent care and built up the UK’s lousy care.
In the United States, our care is in fragments. Providers of care, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, are entrepreneurs. Each seeks to increase his share of the pie, at the expense of others.
Fundamentally flawed progressive economics. Despite capitalism maximizing everyone’s prosperity every time capitalism is practiced, the progressive sees nothing but a limited pie from which “less fortunate” people aren’t dolled out “fair” shares.
Doctor Berwick praises the NHS for capping health care spending and making “the political and economic choices” to “keep affordability within reach.” The professor blithely professes untruth, telling the NHS, “And, you leave no one out.” Berwick maintains that the UK approach is “harder” on leaders who dictate whom shall be denied care than on the people denied the care.
Here then we have insight into the cold and impersonal mind of a man who sees himself as warm and compassionate. The practice of leaders withholding health care is hard on leaders, not on the people who die from lack of care. Arrogant self-praise for condemnable actions is something to behold.
The lesson that we stupid masses must glean from the wise Dr. Berwick is that capping health care spending, and therefore withholding care, keeps health care “affordability within reach.”
Within whose reach?
Government’s reach. The masses must not decide what health care to buy. “Leaders with plans,” in Berwick’s own words, must provide direction. Outlawing individuals choosing to spend money on health care is okay in the minds of “leaders with plans,” who pretend that such an approach leaves “no one out.”
In fact, the Berwick approach does include everyone, most involuntarily, in a degraded health care system–all so that “leaders with plans” can brag of having “included” everyone. Behold the feel-good, reality-ignoring, all-about-me, narcissistic, progressive worldview.
Donald Berwick’s elitism shouts forth all too clearly when the doctor claims that the common citizen-patient must be guided through the health care system. Berwick complains:
No one manages [patients'] journey, and they are too often lost, forgotten, bewildered.
The height of smugness. Americans are “lost, forgotten, bewildered” people needing the guidance of wise Berwickians.
Anyone not seeing a great deal of our amply arrogant, paternally-inclined, self-aggrandizing President in Berwick is not conscious.
Berwick praised the UK’s NHS for placing “politicians between the public served and the people serving them.” The doctor overtly promotes government coming between patient and doctor.
And Obama wants the doctor to run your health care.
Obama’s man wants the U.S. to do exactly as the U.K. does: use government bureaucrats to decide who gets care. The situation is not encouraging. We now have developing precisely the conditions against which Obamacare opponents warned. When Donald Berwick is approved by the Senate and begins acting according to stated intentions, then Washington politicians will control Americans’ healthcare.
When Berwick takes office, the Harvard sage will find Medicare and Medicaid systems well along the path to British NHS-style mediocrity–thanks to the passage of Obamacare. The National Center for Policy Analysis finds that:
More people are likely to turn to the emergency room for their health care and they are likely to do so more frequently under the new health reform legislation. This finding is surprising because an oft repeated argument for insuring the uninsured is that it will allow people to seek less costly and more accessible care elsewhere.
We find that emergency room costs will increase for two reasons: 1) about half the newly insured will enroll in Medicaid and Medicaid patients seek emergency room care more often than the uninsured, and 2) while the newly insured will try to increase their consumption of care, the absence of any program to create more providers will force patients to turn to emergency rooms as the outlet for increased demand.
Doctors turning away from Medicare and Medicaid and more and more people turning to emergency rooms. Gee, isn’t this kinda sort what happened in the early stages of the downfall of British health care?