President Obama has given Donald Berwick a recess appointment as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, apparently to circumvent the need for a hearing at which Berwick’s views, which would be seen as extreme by most Americans, would be aired. It is easy to see why Obama wanted to avoid scrutiny; watch this video clip, in which Berwick explicitly rejects the idea that patient choice, enabled by competition among providers, is the best path to quality and cost-effective medical care:
Some years ago I had a friendly argument about health care with a Brit who said health care should be socialized because it is so important. I said that he was drawing precisely the wrong conclusion; because health care is so important, it is vital that we use our best system, free enterprise, for it, not our worst system, socialism. Berwick obviously does not share the belief, doubtless held by most Americans, that competition gives better results than central planning.
So there are good reasons why 55 percent of voters think “socialist” is a fair description of Barack Obama.
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