Just the Facts (No Slander) on Berwick

In an attempt to defend Sir Donald Berwick, President Obama’s nominee for healthcare czar, Democrats are accusing Republicans of taking his words out of context and of slandering the Harvard professor.

Berwick, nominated to head Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), has never tried to hide his obsession with socialized medicine. He even published an op-ed in the Washington Post in 1992 where he stated he was “in love” with Britain’s National Heath Service.

He called the British system—that many here in the US refer to as “free for all, but worthless to many”—a “seductress” about which he is “romantic.”

In the op-ed, Berwick even bashed the 2nd Amendment, saying, “At last, a nation where healthcare is a right and carrying a semi-automatic machine gun is a privilege.”

Despite the transparency of Berwick’s statements, Sen. Max Baucus (D.-Mont.) complained on the Senate floor that it is “simply a libel” for Sen. John Barrasso’s (R.-Wyo.) to charge that Berwick “plans to ration healthcare.”

“If the senator were not protected by the speech-and-debate clause, he’d be subject to a suit for slander,” said Baucus.

Berwick has openly stated in a healthcare journal that we should ration healthcare “with our eyes open.”

“Any healthcare funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent healthcare is by definition redistributional,” said Berwick. (see at 1:40 below)

Baucus’ lack of knowledge of Berwick’s background, or his willingness to lie, shows that Democrats are willing to say anything to protect Obamacare despite its unpopularity. 

Should Berwick be confirmed, his position would have him work with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius implementing hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid programs.

One wonders how breast cancer survivor Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D.-Fla.) or Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D.-N.J.), who has stomach cancer, feel about Berwick’s stance on limiting preventative screening measures for cancer.

Berwick also called ultra sounds and cesarean sections a “form of assault and battery.”

Despite the controversial nature of his policy proposals, Berwick’s supporters believe that Republicans are trying to re-litigate Obamacare.

“I think anyone who is close to this understands this debate is really not about Don Berwick, but the opportunity to re-litigate the underlying health care reforms,” John Rother, executive vice president for policy and strategy at the AARP told McClatchy Newspapers. “In ordinary times, the nomination of somebody with Don’s record and standing in the field would not be controversial.”

Berwick’s confirmation hearing isn’t expected to be held until after the July 4 recess.