More “comforting” words from Dr. Berwick

I’ve done a few posts about Dr. Donald Berwick, the man appointed by Obama to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.  Now, thanks to an article by Daniel Henninger in today’s Wall Street Journal, we learn more about the “good doctor’s” view of our future under Obamacare…and, it isn’t pretty.

Here are a few of the comments made by Dr. Berwick.

I cannot believe that the individual health care consumer can enforce through choice the proper configurations of a system as massive and complex as health care. That is for leaders to do.

I suppose that is a good philosophy if you are one of the “leaders”, but, as none of us are, that statement seems a bit problematical.

And then we have,

It may therefore be necessary to set a legislative target for the growth of spending at 1.5 percentage points below currently projected increases and to grant the federal government the authority to reduce updates in Medicare fees if the target is exceeded.


A progressive policy regime will control and rationalize financing—control supply.

At least we now understand how Obamacare plans to cut $500 billion from Medicare and Medicaid.

And finally,

Young doctors and nurses should emerge from training understanding the values of standardization and the risks of too great an emphasis on individual autonomy.

Take the time to read the entire article as I have only quoted some of the “highlights”.

Perhaps now you understand why the president had to appoint Dr. Berwick “in the dark of night” bypassing the typical Senate confirmation hearing process.  These views would have outraged most Americans had they become public, thus placing any member of the Senate voting to confirm Dr. Berwick in a more uncomfortable position than they already are, and, further eroding what little support for Obamacare still exists.

And, perhaps now you know why Senator Max Baucus (D. Mt.) was critical of this the dark of night appointment, saying,

Senate confirmation of presidential appointees is an essential process prescribed by the Constitution that serves as a check on executive power and protects Montanans and all Americans by ensuring that crucial questions are asked of the nominee — and answered.

But, to Obama, the Constitution seems to be a pesky inconvenience, unless he wishes it to be otherwise…see: Arizona.

Perish the thought that the American public might actually hear these views, contact their Senators and ask them to say no to this terrible appointment.  Oh wait, I forgot, we’re to stupid to make decisions…that is for the leaders.

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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. sammy22 on July 15, 2010 at 11:50 am

    SOS is terrific at parsing words. From the parsing comes an enlightened "wisdom nugget", which is later cast into a "conspiracy theory" from the left.Yes, I have read her credentials, and so……for the President the Constitution is a pesky inconvenience, instead of being "truth from above"?

    • Dimsdale on July 15, 2010 at 2:12 pm

      I think he views it as an obstacle more than a mere inconvenience.   If you are better at translating legalese than SOS, then enlighten us.  Have you looked at these things?  They are like vignettes from a Marx Bros. film (the party of the first part…..).  Did you read the WSJ piece?  Do you find those quotes to be reasonable?


      C'mon!  Øbama was supposed to be "Mr. Transparency" for crying out loud!  Remember how he was going to let us read all these bills at least a week before he signed them?   How all bill negotiations were going to be on CSPAN?

    • SoundOffSister on July 15, 2010 at 3:15 pm


      No parsing, no conspiracy theory.  If you wish to live the rest of your life with Dr. Berwick and his ilk making your health care decisions for you, I can only hope you never have a serious illness.  I enjoy your comments and don't want to lose them prematurely.

    • Dimsdale on July 15, 2010 at 3:46 pm

      How Democrats write these bills:

      A little comic relief….. 😉

  2. porschepete on July 15, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    I guess we are too ignorant to understand how to take care of ourselves. But they know 

    where come when they need money.What bunch of arrogant snobs. Thease are the things

    that revolutions are made of. Welcome to serfdom. 

  3. Dimsdale on July 15, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    The quote struck me: “I cannot believe that the individual health care consumer can enforce through choice the proper configurations of a system as massive and complex as health care. That is for leaders to do.”
    This is priceless.? It exemplifies precisely what the political elite think of the average voter: you are stupid and ignorant, and unfit to care for yourselves.? We need great “thinkers” like Berwick to make our decisions for us.? Yeah right.?? And if you can’t see the long term implications of that statement, you need to seriously consider remedial help.? And which of our “leaders” do you really believe is qualified to make YOUR healthcare choices for you or your loved ones?? The ones that don’t even know what is in the bill they passed last spring?? The ones that clearly didn’t even write it?? How does that argue for their intelligence?
    If the “great unwashed” is “ignorant and uniformed”, who keeps them that way?? Dare I mention the media, whose alleged role is to objectively inform us, but who choose to inflate the importance of Mel Gibson and Lindsey Lohan into the forefront to obscure the truly important information that Americans need to make informed votes.? Would it be indelicate to say that most government schools are poor and getting poorer (and for you racist fans, the situation is exponentially greater in minority neighborhoods)?
    Can anyone really believe that Berwick was the only and best choice for this job?? Or did he simply fit the socialist, single payer, screw the patient mold that ?bama and the Democrat Party desires?? Let’s see the list of candidates that ?bambi had to “agonize” over to finally pick Berwick.? Up here in MA, our “representatives” launch “nationwide searches” to hire their brothers or sisters or cousins.? Isn’t that political incest?? If he was the best choice, shouldn’t he be required to defend his positions in a public hearing?? So the public will actually know what they are getting?? Or do we just “let the leaders decide”?? Wouldn’t an honest “leader” want us to definitively know that his choice was wise?
    What is the definition of tyranny again?

  4. gillie28 on July 15, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    "That is for leaders to do" – and our leaders are so upstanding and righteous that we have every confidence they will have our best interests at heart.  What could the individual be thinking to be so "uneducated" as to seek out the most effective health care for his/her needs???? 

  5. chris-os on July 16, 2010 at 1:33 am

    Senate confirmation of presidential appointees is an essential process prescribed by the Constitution that serves as a check on executive power and protects Montanans and all Americans by ensuring that crucial questions are asked of the nominee — and answered.

    Baucus quote.

    Palin tweet:

    @sarahpalinusa: Press Corps-pls do your job as Obama sneaks in Berwick appt;pls cover his mission:socialized healthcare&rationing based on"quality of life.

    (Of course, we were holding our collective breaths waiting for the words of Sistah Sarah on this issue.)

    Now that we heard from the demagogues, the facts are:

    CMS has been with out a permanent head since 2006.

    George W. Bush made 171 recess appointments.

    President Obama has now made a total of 18 recess appointments.

    There are currently 180 nominees still pending before the Senate.

    This was the right thing to do by the white house. there are one hundred million dependent on medicare Repub leadership blathers on, pulling things from their…well…forget it.

    Berwick is tremendously qualified (per people who are not trying to score political points) and the postition needed to be filled.


    • Dimsdale on July 16, 2010 at 3:25 am

      You should have stopped at "Senate confirmation of presidential appointees is an essential process prescribed by the Constitution that serves as a check on executive power and protects Montanans and all Americans by ensuring that crucial questions are asked of the nominee — and answered."


      Exactly where was the Senate involved here?  Where were the hearings?  What questions were asked — and answered?  How many of Bush's recess appointments were made without hearings?  If any, were they eventually subjected to hearing prior to permanent appointment?  Did any of the Bush appointments have such a crucial role (some say life or death) in American government?  I looked at the list of Bush appointments, and with the exception of a couple of judges and, of course, John Bolton, virtually all of them were trivial assistant/deputy/board or commission members (

      You are comparing 18 months of Øbama being in office to 8 years of Bush's tenure.  The comparison means nothing unless you extrapolate.   Come back in six and a half years.


      I ask the question again: was Berwick the ONLY qualified (your word) candidate for the job, and if so, given the importance of the position (as you state), is he not worthy of scrutiny?  Øbama could still appoint him after the hearing, as Bush did with Bolton.  Who else was considered?


      And just for the record, which of Bolton's statements, from the WSJ or elsewhere, gave you the most comfort and reassurance that he is the right man for the job?

  6. sammy22 on July 16, 2010 at 4:53 am

    Dear SOS, when you write "in the dark of night" instead of writing "recess appointment" and that to Pres. Obama the "Constitution seems to be a pesky inconvenience", you may score points w/ the Conservatives, but lose some cred.

    • Dimsdale on July 16, 2010 at 7:04 am

      When you feel the need to appoint someone "in the dark of night" (meaning no congressional scrutiny, no major media investigation or followup), or if you prefer, during a Congressional recess, when the CMS seems to have gotten along fine since sometime in 2006 (according to chris-os above), when major provisions of Øbamacare will not apply until after the elections (conveniently), would another week or two, or a month or two really matter?  I mean, seriously?


      This guy was elected on his promises of transparency, ethics and "not following the old ways anymore" in lieu of an actual resume.  Or even a college transcript for that matter.


      Who is really losing "cred"?

  7. sammy22 on July 16, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    Pardon me, Dims. I was addressing SOS. Pres. Obama has his own cred problems and I he has lost some in my eyes (and I voted for him, I don't think he got your vote) . If SOS needs your help in carrying water, she is losing even more cred.

    • Dimsdale on July 17, 2010 at 7:46 am

      Fine.  I was just pointing out the obvious, which you seemed to have missed.  My mistake.  I am sure that SOS is more than up to your criticisms.  Maybe she is just spending all her time reading the bills that our "representatives" refuse to read.


      The stage is yours, Barb!

    • Dimsdale on July 17, 2010 at 6:17 pm

      Ever consider sending her a private email via Jim if you want a one on one conversation?

  8. JollyRoger on July 17, 2010 at 12:13 am

    Attention SoS:  Call me crazy, but I'd still like to see a birth certificate- please!  I had a very brief and very modest stint in what could legally be described as federal law enforcement, and something they drilled into our heads was that we HAD TO HAVE "identification"- there was 100% no debate on this issue!  You could have a giant ship with flashing lights, machine guns, a team of smelly men, a side arm, a stack of legal documents, and a helicopter flying around, but you couldn't legally board a 16' sailboat unless you could identify yourself.  And as fate would have it, years later I was pulled over by an FCC agent; he knew my name, he knew the frequencies I was transmitting on, and he knew the rules that I was twisting, but he forgot his badge- so I drove away.  The FCC made me miserable for the next 5 years, and I referred to that agent as ""Prename" i forgot my badge " Surname"" in years of correspondence…  Hell hath no fury like the FCC, but they never made any issue of my failure to yield to an unidentified agent- I think they were a little bit amused! Surely, if Joe Biden says it's patriotic to pay your taxes, it ought to be very patriotic to question the identity/pedigree of any President of the USA???  The media sure as hell did their due diligence on where McCain was born… Am I wrong?

  9. chris-os on July 17, 2010 at 1:49 am


    Hawaii is our 50th state.

    It is an island in the Pacific.

    It has 2 Senators in the US Senate.

    Sorry about the deficiency in the school system you attended-

    • Dimsdale on July 17, 2010 at 8:06 am

      Ummmmm….  What are you talking about?  Where is the reference to Hawaii?

    • chris-os on July 18, 2010 at 1:14 am

      ummmmm…replying to the "birther" above, Dims…..

    • Dimsdale on July 18, 2010 at 5:37 pm

      Ah, I see.  That is not apparently his belief.  I missed the sarcasm.  My regrets.

  10. Tim-in-Alabama on July 17, 2010 at 7:52 am

    FACT: You have more cred if you put "FACT" in front of a post questioning someone's cred.

  11. sammy22 on July 17, 2010 at 10:55 am

    If the posts make such obvious points, they are free of (unnecessary) innuendos and the truth simply shines through, why is it necessary to spend so much time clarifying them? I don't think we are THAT dense (or maybe Jim V. is right).

    • Dimsdale on July 17, 2010 at 4:24 pm

      So that's why the media never felt the need to investigate and report the contents of the Øbamacare bill!


      You are right: it is so obvious!

    • Dimsdale on July 17, 2010 at 4:26 pm

      And it was equally obvious that Berwick was such a perfect choice, that hearings were completely unnecessary and  a total waste of time!


      Silly me!  Back the the unfolding drama of Mel and Lindsay!!!

  12. sammy22 on July 18, 2010 at 5:51 am

    Dims, paraphrasing Pres. Reagan:" There you go again, changing the subject".

    • Dimsdale on July 18, 2010 at 5:38 pm

      LOL!  At least we got to the subject, unlike the MSM!

  13. tom on July 21, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I think Berwick saw 'Logan's Run' high on dope one too many times…


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