Marxist installed to run Medicare, Medicaid

As with many Constitutional provisions, “recess appointments” have come to be used in ways the founders didn’t intend. Presidents now use recess appointments to get a desired appointee into office — at least for a time — over the objections of recalcitrant legislators, especially when the Senate is in the hands of the opposition party.

But President Obama’s recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to the position of Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — July 7, when lawmakers were out of town for their annual July Fourth break — broke new ground, because Dr. Berwick was not a nominee whose appointment had been subjected to inordinate delays or an overtly hostile reception by the Congress.

Dr. Berwick was nominated on April 19, less than three months ago. He had not yet had a hearing. His committee vetting wasn’t complete. Why the rush?

There’s little doubt President Obama wished to avoid the mortifying spectacle of Dr. Berwick being asked to explain his essentially Marxist view that government-run health care is a good thing because it is and ought to be a method of redistributing wealth from the productive to the mendicant classes, in full Senate hearings, on the eve of this fall’s off-year elections, when Democrats may fairly expect to have their heads handed to them by voters, as it is.

Bad enough for the president and his party to be SUSPECTED of purposely leading the nation down the path to Marxist bankruptcy. The problem with putting Dr. Berwick in front of a microphone is that he has a tendency to open his mouth and confirm it.

His apologists offer the usual, pro forma, “quoted out of context” excuses.

But that’s not true. The context was that Dr. Berwick, who has just been put in charge of rationing American Medicare and Medicaid services for about 100 million Americans, was in London on July 1, 2008, at a National Health Service conference celebrating 60 years of socialized medicine in England — a system now generating massive scandals as sick people there die waiting for treatment, in a nation where cancer and diabetes and heart disease survival rates have dropped far below ours — when he said we must realize that “Sick people tend to be poorer and that poor people tend to be sicker and that 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 the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional. Britain, you chose well.”

The context was a 2009 interview with Biotechnology Healthcare magazine. Dr. Berwick said: “We make these decisions all of the time. The decision is not whether or not we will ration care. The decision is whether we ration care with our eyes open. And right now, we are doing it blindly.”

In fact, government indeed begins to ration care as soon as it starts to meddle in paying some people’s medical bills, since there can never be as much wealth (seized tax revenues, in this case) as there is demand for what beneficiaries come to see as “free” health care.

The problem does not arise with bottled water or boats (either of which, yes, can “save your life” under the right circumstances) because those are “rationed” only by price — those who work hard and save their money and plan for the future can buy pretty much as many boats and as much bottled water as they choose. In emergencies when supplies of these things may be limited, demand drives prices up. When new suppliers spot profits to be made and enter the market, supply catches up and prices drop. Everyone chooses how much of their limited wealth to allocate to each use. The free market works.

But those who want government to run more and more of our lives instruct us such a system is “unfair” when it comes to medical care — that bureaucrats must be empowered to seize wealth from those who have worked and saved and planned ahead, in order to pay for the care of those who have done none of those things — oblivious to the fact that this discourages hard work and savings by those who see their wealth seized, while encouraging sloth, idleness, and unhealthy habits among those who are thus encouraged to expect “Uncle Sam will pick up the tab, so who cares — pour me another one.”

In the last resort, in fact, the government will order a doctor to treat a patient for free, or for below-market compensation at whatever rate the government shall dictate, under threat of force — a blatant violation of the 13th amendment.

What Mr. Berwick wants to do — on the model of the collapsing British system which he so admires — is to have government ration by perceived “need,” which is Marxism by definition. (“From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”)

Under government rationing, a hypothetical 78-year-old woman needing life-saving surgery will be told — as they’re now frequently told in Britain and Canada — “The ‘system’ can afford to do only a certain number of these expensive operations per month. Those who can be given more years of productive life — those younger than you — will be ahead of you in line. This is only rational, it’s nothing personal. We’ll schedule your surgery four months from now.”

“But the doctor said if I don’t have the procedure within six weeks I could die,” our hypothetical patient replies.

“Ma’am, no one is telling you to go die,” Dr. Berwick’s bureaucrat will cheerfully tell the patient. “There are no death panels. We just have limited resources, so you’ll wait in line, that’s all.”

“I have savings. I can pay for the surgery, myself, in cash.”

“I’m sorry. We no longer allow people to cut in line just because they’re lucky enough to be rich. Everyone has to be subject to the same rules for the sake of fairness; you can see that. You’ll wait four months. Maybe you’ll make it. Next, please.”

“Look around; no death panels,” chortles the president in his recent public appearances, chuckling at the absurdity of his critics, now that Obamacare has been enacted but will not fully take effect till 2014.

No? But the man who will put together the instructional manuals by which the faceless bureaucrats will take the next major step toward “redistributing wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate” was just appointed to head up Medicare and ’Medicaid, controlling what health care will be funded for 100 million Americans. And he’s now in office without so much as having to answer a single Senate question.

A recess appointment used to be the last resort in cases of egregious delay. Last Wednesday, the “most open and transparent administration in history” used one to put a man in charge of the medical care of millions of Americans — a man who Barack Obama simply did not want to see questioned.

“They did everything to hide Dr. Berwick’s radical views,” comments Rep. Tom Price, R-GA. “Clearly, they did not want Berwick’s adamant support for rationing health care debated in the light of day. … This recess appointment is just another indication of the Democrats’ belief that their plans to radically alter our health care system require no approval from the American public.”

7 Comments to “Marxist installed to run Medicare, Medicaid”

  1. MamaLiberty Says:

    The process actually started quite some time ago. The market will continue to function by driving providers/producers out of business or (if we’re lucky) into the gray/black market. In either case, the best care won’t be available via the state.

    Obamacare begins — in Idaho
    Pro Libertate
    by Willl Grigg

    “When the Regime sets prices, this is called ‘applied compassion.’ When producers organize to complain about price controls, and then freely decide not to offer their services at the artificially low price, this is called ‘a criminal conspiracy to fix prices.’ This is the central claim of the ‘consent decree’ inflicted, at gunpoint, on a group of Idaho orthopedic surgeons by the Obama Regime — with the eager collaboration of the Idaho State Attorney General. Under the terms of that extorted agreement, it would be tantamount to a criminal offense for a doctor to complain to his peers about regulatory actions that may drive accomplished medical specialists out of business.” (07/14/10)

  2. liberranter Says:

    As with many Constitutional provisions, “recess appointments” have come to be used in ways the founders didn’t intend.

    Over the past few years I’ve grown increasingly skeptical of the idea that certain “abuses” or “stretches” of the plain meaning of the Constitution now commonplace are “unintentional.” Even a cursory read of the founding parchment reveals loopholes big enough to drive a space shuttle through, loopholes that couldn’t possibly have been “oversights,” as much attention as the document was given before published in its final form and presented for signature by delegates of the several states.

    Simply stated, if the Founders, who no doubt were as astute a group of judges of human nature as any educated men could be, had really wanted to ensure that their new “law of the land” served as an impregnable constraint on the federal government, they would have left no room in the document whatsoever for ambiguity. Where the “recess appointment” issue is concerned, this would mean that they would never have added the last sentence of Article II, Section 2, knowing as they should have that this sentence as written is effectively an invitation to executive abuse of the appointments process.

    There are many other examples I could cite, but I think the point is clear: the Constitution was written with the intention of being subverted, and this is just the latest in a two centuries-long catalog of examples.

  3. Vin Suprynowicz Says:

    liberanter is correct. The Jeffersonians likely crossed their fingers and hoped the Constitution would be a charter of limited government, read and interpreted according to their stated intentions. (Yes, yes, the Louisiana Purchase, fine.) The Hamiltonians from the start meant to use the provisions concerning “interstate commerce” and “the general welfare” to justify all kinds of usurpations — starting with federally financed canals, etc. — and they have won, hands down.

    The largely unexamined question: Why did they/we need the document? Today’s schoolchildren are told the Articles of Confederation ‘weren’t working” since they limited the ability of the central government to raise revenue (Oh, the humanity!) and since the seacoast states were committing virtual robbery of the landlocked states with interstate tariffs … a charge I’ve never been able to confirm, made even goofier by the curious shortage of landlocked states prior to 1787.

    So: Do we seek a return to Constitutional governance today, agreeing with Joe Sobran that “It wouldn’t be perfect but it would be a whole lot better than what we’ve got today”? Or do we throw the whole thing out — fully mindful of the horrors that a modern majority of government youth propaganda camp graduates might erect in its stead ?

    In terms of mutual defense, some kind of continental union could still make sense. Obviously (though WHY do we have to waste so much space inoculating ourselves against the knee-jerk twaddle of the self-righteous socialists?) slavery bad, kicking Indians off their land bad. But would I prefer to live in a community with ideas about free markets and sharply limited government far closer to those prevalent on these shores in 1782? Of course.

    Now: How do we get there from here … without an “entrance test” to bar socialists fleeing their own dysfunctional “paradises” from squatting on our doorsteps and immediately calling for “majority votes” to set up tax-funded school districts, environmental protection agencies, etc.?

    — V.S.

  4. liberranter Says:

    Good points, Vin, and good questions too. I’ve always been uneasy about the states’ rights question for the simple reason that, given the political mindset of the majority today, sovereign states, a reversion to the confederation model that existed for the nation’s first half decade post-independence, would be nothing but micro-copies of the current fascialist leviathan, just on a smaller scale. (At least here in Arizona that would certainly be the case, although how this state would fund the mini welfare-warfare state that the red-neocon majority would demand is an unanswerable question.)

    With that in mind, it probably doesn’t matter in practical terms what kind of governing charter we all live under in the future. As long as the majority is either ignorant or contemptuous of liberty, “democracy” in its purest and most insipid form, or some flavor of pseudo-paternalistic totalitarianism (is there really a difference?) will be the norm, no matter how localized the political structure becomes. As it relates to your original article, destructive Marxist morons like Dr. Donald Berwick will be allowed to exercise power as long their message appeals to the basest instincts of ignorant majorities brainwashed enough to believe that they have something to gain from Berwick and his ilk if they give them enough power.

    I wish I could be more optimistic, but simple observation doesn’t make that a realistic option.

  5. Matt Says:

    Sadly this whole blog entry is a pile of horse manure.
    The simple fact is that the tax-funded UK National Health Service is not only administratively cheaper than *all* insurance-based systems (even single-payer ones!!!), and in the case of the US system the NHS is administratively cheaper by a magnitude that is breathtaking, it covers 100% of all people 100% of the time.
    As far as health outcomes for certain conditions, it is true that due to well-researched cultural reasons they are often poorer than for some comparable developed societies. An example is various types of cancer and heart disease – British people (of all social classes but especially those from backgrounds poorer, and *men* far more than women) present to their GP with symptoms far later than in France, Germany, USA and Scandinavia. But improvements in the NHS, and greater funding over the last 13 years to make up for the Thatcher cuts of 1979-1997, have significantly improved outcomes in Cancer and Heart Disease, and in many areas of health care we make the USA look like a third-world banana republic.
    And of course, the excellent health outcomes in the USA do *not* apply to the 50 million who (until the latest reforms) do *not* have health insurance, and the 50 million who have inadequate cover.

  6. Woog Says:


    NHS is “administratively cheaper”? Perhaps you’re unaware of the trainloads of government red tape that drive up the price of medical services while deteriorating the quality? (It is unheard of for doctors to make house calls anymore in the USA, for example.)

    “The latest reforms” did not provide medical “insurance” to everyone in the USA – the massive illegal law (see Marbury v Madison, 1803) merely implemented a tax on those who couldn’t afford an approved pre-paid medical services plan (or, like myself, choose not to participate in such a rip-off).

    Since you seem to advocate that medical services be provided at below-market rates (or for “free”), let me point out that you by definition advocate slavery. No matter how many skewed figures you spew, forced servitude is the core of your argument.

  7. Samantha Prabhu Says:

    As obama reelected medicare plan is going to be implemented through out the US at the same time US government must concentrate on medicaid plan also…..