Philip Klein writes on Donald Berwick, #1 fan of the UK's National Health Service and its NICE rationing board, and Obama's choice to head Medicare and Medicaid. His appointment must be approved by the Senate. Here's hoping that he'll meet with some serious resistance, and that America will learn more about government-run healthcare and rationing in the process. The NHS has plenty of blood-spattered linen to be aired. Mr. Klein:
During the health care debate, Obama dismissed any attempt by Republicans to liken his vision to the British system. But Berwick's nomination, which will have to be approved by the Senate, provides Republicans with ample fodder to make the connection.
On Wednesday night, Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor for a half-hour along with fellow Republican Sens. Pat Roberts and John Barrasso to rip into Berwick's positions, in what could be seen as the opening salvo in the nomination battle.
"Many of us are alarmed by the nominee's focus on the British health care system," McConnell said, and criticized Berwick for "applauding a system where care is denied, delayed, or rationed."
McConnell also suggested that Obama intentionally delayed the Berwick appointment until after the passage of the health care law, because announcing his CMS pick during the debate would have confirmed Republican charges that Democrats were intent on rationing care.
Klein on Berwick's view of NICE:
On a number of occasions, Berwick has praised Britain's National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), a body of experts that advises the government-run health care system on how to allocate medical spending based on cost-benefit analysis. Among other decisions, they have ruled against the use of cancer-treating drugs and put a dollar value on the final six months of human life.
"NICE is extremely effective and a conscientious, valuable, and -- importantly -- knowledge-building system," Berwick said in an interview last June in Biotechnology Healthcare. "The fact that it's a bogeyman in this country is a political fact, not a technical one."
Spoken like a true elite.
Read the rest. Previous post on Berwick here.
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