Donald Berwick, Obama's medicare czar who recently stepped down from a post granted him via recess appointment has a record of fawning over the British health care system. Newt is on record as practically fawning over Berwick.
This is disturbing.
Via David Catron at the American Spectator:
When I read that Donald Berwick had resigned from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), I nearly shouted for joy. The cheer died on my lips, however, when my eye caught the following headline among those retrieved when I sent my search engine after more information: "Gingrich-Endorsed Health Care Expert Don Berwick Forced to Resign." Surely, I thought, the gods cannot be this cruel. But they are, of course, as another search confirmed. Newt has indeed lauded Berwick as a pioneer in the quest to improve American health care. The former Speaker is already on record as a supporter of insurance mandates, and it has lately come to light that he endorsed stepped-up end-of-life counseling. Combined with those afflictions, Gingrich's praise of Berwick will send his health care credibility straight to Forest Lawn.
The Berwick boost was included in an opinion piece that Gingrich wrote in August of 2000 for the Washington Post. The column begins with an absurdly over-the-top metaphor equating day-to-day hospital operations with a Concorde crash that had occurred a week earlier: "Imagine that we had an airline crash every day, taking the lives of more than 250 Americans… a tragedy of similar proportions is occurring right now in American hospitals." Gingrich based this grotesque analogy on a highly questionable report by the Institute of Medicine titled, "To Err is Human," which claimed that as many as 98,000 preventable deaths occur in U.S. hospitals each year. This study, which is still cited by Obamacare supporters, was denounced at the time by the Journal of the American Medical Association as "exaggerated" and "shrill."Catron then points out that Gingrich liked the idea of end of life counseling instead of expensive treatment:
In 2009, he (Gingrich) wrote another Washington Post column in which he echoed a refrain often heard from people who believe we should ration care to the elderly: "More than 20 percent of all Medicare spending occurs in the last two months of life." Rationing advocates like Berwick typically bring this particular datum up to demonstrate how much money we can save by not providing expensive treatment to people who are soon going to die anyway. Oddly, they rarely mention the inconvenient fact that many people receive the same expensive treatments and live for far longer than two months, or even two years. Gingrich's column also fails to note this reality.Look, at some point, the discussion about getting the government out of the insurance / health care business needs to take place. Instead of talking about how expensive it is to care for people when so many people don't pay into the system, we should be talking about letting the free market solve a lot of these problems (opening up insurance lanes across state lines for an example). For some inexplicable reason, the insane cost of bureaucracy never gets targeted. As much as anything else, Newt's arguments seem to underscore a premise that says big government is the answer. That's almost as much of a problem as his lauding Berwick.... for anything more than being able to tie his own shoes.
Read it all.