Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Donald Berwick: the $1 trillion health care disaster in waiting

A very dangerous man named Donald Berwick was recently nominated by President Obama to serve as the the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

If confirmed, Berwick would become one of the most powerful individuals in government. He would control nearly $1 trillion in redistributed wealth that flows from taxpayers to recipients of government-run health care. And his power would grow even further under the auspices of ObamaCare.

Why is Berwick so dangerous? Because he believes the British National Health Care Service (NHS) is superior to the U.S. health care system. Yet even a cursory examination would demonstrate that this isn't true. In fact, it's a malicious lie.

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.

Consider the quantitative facts:

British cancer outcomes don't just trail U.S. results; they rival those of Eastern European nations." A 2008 study showed that cancer survival rates in the U.K. trail far behind those of the United States. American men, for example, "have an 80 percent better chance of surviving prostate cancer than do their English counterparts... [and there are] similar disparities in comparative survival rates for victims of breast, colon and rectal cancers."

• Breast cancer mortality is 52 percent higher in Germany than in the United States and 88 percent higher in the United Kingdom.

• Some "56 percent of Americans who could benefit from statin drugs, which reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease, are taking them. By comparison, of those patients who could benefit from these drugs, only 36 percent of the Dutch, 29 percent of the Swiss, 26 percent of Germans, 23 percent of Britons, and 17 percent of Italians receive them."

• "British cancer patients are substantially more likely to die of the disease than those in other western European countries because of poor access to the latest drugs, according to an authoritative report to be published today." (Cancer survival rates worst in western Europe: Telegraph (UK) 2007)

And no one's cherry-picking the data:

Consider a small sample of some recent headlines from the U.K. and its "National Health Service" or NHS, which were collected in little over a month in 2009 (click here for a more complete list). This is the type of system that the Statist Berwick prefers to ours. Feel better yet?

NHS 'failings' over elderly falls: 3/25/2009 [BBC]
Learning disabled 'failed by NHS': 3/24/2009 [BBC]
Cancer survivor confronts the health secretary on 62-day wait: 3/21/2009 [The Scotsman]

Culture of targets prevents nurses from tending to patients: Patients Association, 3/21/2009 [Telegraph UK]
Children being failed by health system, says head of watchdog: Sarah Boseley, 3/21/2009 [Guardian Unlimited]
Our cancer shame: Survival rates still lag behind EU despite spending billions: 3/20/2009 [Daily Mail(UK)]

Failing hospital 'caused deaths': 3/17/2009 [BBC]
Health gap drive 'wasted money': 3/14/2009 [BBC]
Longer GP opening hours branded wasteful 'PR exercise' by doctors: 3/13/2009 [The Scotsman]

"Political meddling" threatens general practice, warns GP leader: 3/13/2009 [Management in Practice (UK)]
Children at risk through lack of training for doctors and nurses, report warns: 3/13/2009 [Telegraph UK]
Chocolate should be taxed to control obesity epidemic, doctors are told: 3/13/2009 [Telegraph UK]

1,000 wait for a dentist after just one NHS practice opens: 3/10/2009 [Daily Mail(UK)]
Study proves the folly of NHS Alzheimer's drug ban: 3/7/2009 [Daily Mail(UK)]
NHS charges to rise in England: 3/5/2009 [BBC]

Disabled children wait up to two years for wheelchairs: 3/4/2009 [Guardian Unlimited]
NHS under fire over waiting times: 2/25/2009 [The Scotsman]
Specialist nurses 'vastly overworked': 2/20/2009 [Harwich & Manningtree Standard]

Hundreds of operations cancelled at Lothian hospitals: 2/19/2009 [The Scotsman]
Stop asking for antibiotics to cure coughs and colds: Government: 2/17/2009 [Daily Mail(UK)]
Stroke services are 'UK's worst' : 2/17/2009 [BBC]

Why would Berwick -- against all evidence -- prefer Britain's NHS over America's system?

Because for Berwick, care is secondary to wealth redistribution. His well-publicized statement, "Any healthcare funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate."

Berwick prefers the misery, desperation and death endemic to the bankrupt NHS. The Marxist underpinnings, for him, are all that count. Wealth redistribution is paramount and health care is secondary.

Berwick is a liar, a menace and a disgrace. He must not be confirmed.

Related: An Incurable Romantic (The American Spectator) and How Donald Berwick Will Run Your Health Care (Big Government).


l said...

Why do we have to go through this over and over? It is almost like someone is picking the worse possible person for each position.?
Where are the Republicans? Isn't anyone working to protect us from this evil?

Duncan Idaho said...

Yo my man up there in the comments. GOP can't do much when they can be locked out of meetings or just plain steamrolled. Democrats in the majority don't care, not one bit, about playing fair.

Welcome to Hell.