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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Obamacare: Nominee to Head Medicare/Medicaid Loves UK’s Socialized NHS



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Do not tell me that this administration has no intention of rationing health care.  Do not even breathe it.  Former Senator Tom Daschle, who would today be head of Health and Human Services but for some tax problems--the man the NYT called the most influential adviser on Obamacere--extolled NICE, the NHS's rationing board, as a model for us to follow. Now, Donald Berwick, the Obama administration’s nominee to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is running into confirmation resistance because of his love affair with the NHS.  From the story:
Sens. Pat Roberts (Kan.), Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and John Barrasso (Wyo.) joined forces on the Senate floor shortly after the last vote of the day and urged members to review Berwick’s record before voting on his confirmation. They accused Berwick of promoting health care rationing, especially for older people, and particularly criticized his endorsement of Great Britain’s National Healthcare System (NHS). “Dr. Berwick is a huge fan of … the NHS, a system that relies on rationing health care to hold down costs,” Roberts said. “Dr. Berwick has said, ‘I am a romantic about the NHS; I love it,’ and ‘the NHS is not just a national treasure, it is a global treasure.’”
Anyone who believes that should do research here under "NHS Meltdown," and see the ongoing implosion of quality care and the imposition of explicit and implicit rationing.  Yet, Berwick claims to want perfection from Medicare/Medicaid:
He has outlined his vision for health care as: ·      No needless deaths; ·      No needless pain or suffering; ·      No helplessness in those served or serving; ·      No unwanted waiting; ·      No waste; ·      No one left out.
Behind the platitudes, those stated goals and love for the NHS are mutually inconsistent.  In NHS health care, there are long waits, women giving birth in elevators, injutrf people have been kept in ambulances for hours rather than brought into the ER to skew care statistics, cancer patients refused life-extending chemotherapy imposed by rationing boards, and skyrocketing hospital acquired infection, with ants and other vermin in some ORs. You have computer meltdowns resulting in 6 month waits for care, doubled spending for bureaucracy, a paucity of pain control specialists, too few emergency doctors,   His idealistic vision of the NHS, in the clip embedded at the top, is way off the reality.  And by the way, in the UK, elites like Berwick can opt out of the NHS via private insurance and health care--because it is better. The White House seems to admit that rationing is in the cards. From Politico (my emphasis):
“The fact is, rationing is rampant in the system today, as insurers make arbitrary decisions about who can get the care they need. Don Berwick wants to see a system in which those decisions are transparent – and that the people who make them are held accountable...
That's as clear an admission of an intent to ration as I think I have ever seen from this mendacious (about Obamacare) administration. Berwick's support of socialized medicine--with its "difficult choices" that are measured in the shortened lives and diminished health of victims being pushed out of the lifeboat by health care rationers, should doom his confirmation.  More importantly, his selection for this important post  by the president--in addition to his appointment of Cass Sunstein and reliance on Ezekiel Emanuel, both on the record as supporting quality of life health care--indicates clearly the direction in which the president wants to take American health care. Rescind. Reform. Replace. Defund.


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