Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Best Of The Berwick Blogosphere

Because it's that important.

I realize that this is my third post on Donald Berwick today. This time, I share with you the best of the day’s commentary on this issue—because anyone who is interested in health care policy needs to learn as much as possible about Berwick and the future of Medicare and Medicaid.

Ben Domenech of the New Ledger, who has been following the Berwick controversy from the beginning, does a nice job summarizing the early reaction to Berwick’s recess appointment (replete with videos of his controversial speech to the British National Health Service). He adds in a follow-up post that the recess appointment allows Berwick to avoid standard disclosures about who his financial backers are.

Tevi Troy, a deputy secretary of Health and Human Services in the Bush administration, gives a nice insider’s take as to why the CMS Administrator is important, and why he is disappointed by the President’s maneuver. In a similar vein, Keith Hennessey goes through the inside baseball of Senate confirmation hearings, and explains why the Berwick recess appointment was so unusual.

Joe Rago of the Wall Street Journal gets past the sound bites and digs into the real problem with the Berwick appointment: his affection for centrally planned health care systems, and the fundamental flaws of that approach.

The progressive end of the blogosphere is puzzled as to why conservatives are so exercised about Berwick’s fondness for the British National Health Service. Conn Carroll of the Heritage Foundation cites one of NHS’ cruelest features: if the NHS denies you an expensive drug, and you try to pay for it yourself, the NHS bans you from future NHS support, driving you into bankruptcy or death. This is the same NHS to which Dr. Berwick professes a “love affair.”

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