Senate Republicans are still fuming over the recess appointment of Donald Berwick to head the federal agency in charge of Medicare and Medicaid.
In retaliation, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) blocked a Democratic request Wednesday evening to advance two of President Obama’s nominees to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Also Wednesday evening, Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee demanded a public hearing on Berwick.
Obama used his constitutional prerogative to circumvent Senate confirmation of Berwick by appointing him the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service during the July 4th recess.
Republicans struck back by blocking an effort to schedule a vote on two of Obama’s judicial picks: North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge Jim Wynn and North Carolina Superior Court Judge Albert Diaz. Obama tapped both for the Fourth Circuit.
Berwick's recess appointment magically transformed him into the most influential man in the health care industry, wielding the power to set prices and regulate every aspect of health care delivery.
Berwick's appointment was historic for a couple of reasons. For the first time in memory, a President bypassed the Senate confirmation process without so much as a hearing. And Berwick is the only Medicare head to praise England's National Health Service, which provides measurably inferior care compared to the U.S. and, as a bonus, is bankrupting the Exchequer.
Berwick has written lovingly of Britain's bankrupt NHS: "I am romantic about the National Health Service; I love it... All I need to do to rediscover the romance is to look at healthcare in my own country [which is governed by] the darkness of private enterprise."
Berwick has repeatedly claimed that the NHS delivers superior care when compared to the U.S. He is a liar. And he is dangerous.
Not only does Britain rely upon America's pharmaceutical innovations, not only does it rely upon America's medical devices, and not only does it piggy-back upon our cutting-edge procedures and treatments -- but it does so far less effectively and with far more waste than nearly any modern health care system.
The infinite series of statistics don't lie. Berwick does, but not the statistics.
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Hat tip: @EdMorrissey.