Caution: Medicare may be hazardous to your health

If you are currently on Medicare, by now you have already received the nifty 4 page flyer from the Department of Health and Human Services extolling the virtues of Obamacare for those on Medicare.   Unfortunately, much of what is contained in the flyer is untrue.  Now, however, you have even more to be concerned about.

President Obama has recently nominated Dr. Donald Berwick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  You need to know about the good doctor.  But first, I give a hat tip to Wyndeward, a frequent author on this blog, who gave me the link to this article.

Here is what Dr. Berwick had to say:

The decision is not whether or not we will ration care–the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.

And, if that doesn’t scare you what follows certainly will:

We can make a sensible social decision and say, [w]ell, at this point, to have access to a particular additional benefit [new drug or medical intervention] is so expensive that our taxpayers have better use for those funds.

What better use of funds?  Regardless of the answer, if you are on Medicare, and need a procedure or drug to survive, you will probably have a different viewpoint. 

And then, there is this:

The social budget is limited—we have a limited resource pool. It makes terribly good sense to at least know the price of an added benefit, and at some point we might say nationally, regionally, or locally that we wish we could afford it, but we can’t.

Perhaps someone should explain to Dr. Berwick that our “social budget” for Medicare wouldn’t be “limited” if we hadn’t spent most of people’s Medicare taxes on anything but Medicare.

And finally, the obligatory left wing comment:

Any health care funding plan that is just, equitable, civilized and humane must–must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and less fortunate.

Some will, no doubt, say, these are just isolated comments.  But, I think they reveal Dr. Berwick’s firm beliefs…beliefs that I, for one, certainly don’t share.

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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. Dimsdale on June 7, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    The Democrats were technically right: there are no “death panels”.
    Unfortunately, there is a “Death Czar”, and his name is Berwick.
    Maybe we should go easy on him and call him the “Angel of Death”….

  2. DuffTerrall on June 7, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    I end up questioning – if the federal system fails to guarantee the necessary care to people based on inability to afford it then what advantage does it hold over the current one? The poor still struggle to find the required funds, while the rich at least have a shot at getting a helpful procedure. Yes yes, access to “basic care” is improved. I can’t tell you the number of people I know who could easily afford to get their basic medical needs filled, without insurance, but don’t because they’re too proud stuborn or paranoid to admit that the doctors at walk-in and pharmacy/Walmart clinics are perfectly competent and trained physicians.

    • DuffTerrall on June 7, 2010 at 6:59 pm

      Um… and yes, I realize access to basic medical likely isn't improved either. It was a preemptive counterargument.

  3. weregettinghosed on June 8, 2010 at 8:44 am

    I hope the 'good' doctor Berwick will sleep well with his views. These men, who are held up as great deciders for us – our lives and that our our families – cannot in all good conscience really believe within their hearts or souls that what they are putting on us Americans is good. Rather they know it is wrong but so long as the alligator is not yet coming to eat them, they will throw us to the alligator for his lunch for the not so God Almighty dollar. It is all about who wins and who loses, in this case the seniors will be taken off slowly as their health deteriorates to the line of red and blue pills, as will all those not in the senior group who also have health issues which will be decided to be over care treatment with lack of giving back to society.  This health care stinks of soylent green facilities.  What are they trying to create – a new more perfect society? It's been tried, it did not work – go look at Auschwitz! This administration has gone too far.


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