April 29, 2010 17:41

Obama’s pick to head Medicare and Medicaid highlights the choice we face regarding health care: repeal or rationed care.

BY Jeffrey H. Anderson at

As everyone knows by now, Obamacare would raise, not lower, health costs. This is the consensus view of the CBO, Medicare’s chief actuary, and the American people.  However, another consensus view — shared by nearly everyone outside of the Obama White House and the Democratic Congress — is that the number one goal of health policy should be to cut costs.  So, if you combine a health care overhaul that won’t cut costs, with a pressing need to cut costs, where are we headed?

President Obama’s pick to fill the top post at Medicare and Medicaid provides a strong indication.  We’re going down the only cost cutting road that government can travel.  More exactly, we’re heading toward a nation-defining fork in the road.  In one direction lies repeal; in the other, rationed care. In one direction, liberty; in the other, consolidated power.

President Obama’s pick to head the massive Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Dr. Donald Berwick, is a Harvard doctor with a stated fondness for nationalized medicine.  He plainly wasn’t picked for his large-scale executive or managerial experience.  He’s currently a professor, a pediatrician, and the CEO of a nonprofit whose website reports it has “a staff of over 100 dedicated and talented people.” No, he was presumably picked because he and President Obama see eye-to-eye: Both share the same academic approach to problem-solving, both think our health-care system should be run through Washington, and both support a strong degree of bureaucratic control over questions of life and death. If confirmed by the Senate, he would become head of an agency with a budget larger than that of the Department of Defense.


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