I wrote here a few weeks ago about how Donald Berwick, the president’s appointee to run Medicare and Medicaid, is a big health care rationing advocate. Now, his boss, Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, has more than implicitly agreed with Berwick’s position. From the story:
Berwick, a professor at Harvard Medical School, has repeatedly indicated his support for rationing and for the single-payer, government-run health care system of Great Britain...Berwick defended the program and rationing health care. “The decision is not whether or not we will ration care—the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open,” Berwick said in a June 2009 interview with Biotechnology Healthcare.
At a Wednesday press conference on Capitol Hill, CNSNews.com quoted this statement by Berwick to Sebelius and asked her whether she agreed with it. Sebelius responded by saying she believed Berwick is the right man for the job and is “well-suited to help increase the quality of health care.” “I’m really pleased that the President nominated Dr. Donald Berwick,” Sebelius said. “He’s known nationally as an enormously competent physician and an enormously passionate health care provider and someone who, I think, is incredibly well suited to help increase the quality of health care delivered to the 40-plus million Americans who rely on Medicare services and also the 30-plus million on Medicaid services. “He’s written extensively, he’s taught all over the country, and I think he’s absolutely the right leader for this time.”
Don’t you hate that kind of prevaricating by government officials? It is an easy answer, either she agrees with his rationing position or she doesn’t. Sebelius’s non-answer answer, trying to change the question to a matter of Berwick’s competence, spoke volumes. And indeed, when pressed, she more than tacitly admits her support for rationing:
When pressed to answer the question of whether or not she agreed with Berwick’s statement about health-care rationing, Sebelius indicated she already had. “I just gave you the answer,” she said.
And notice that Speaker Pelosi, who was there, jumped in to cut off further discourse. Too late: The cat was out of the proverbial bag.
It seems to me that Sebilius’s clear support of medical rationing, along with the appointment of Berwick, and the influence of people like Tom Daschle, the influence of Ezekiel Emanuel and Cass Sunstein, etc., prove the lie of President Obama’s many assurances that health care reform would not lead to rationing. To keep this post from becoming a book, let’s just focus on a couple of Obama’s own statements.
For example, on June 15, 2009, in a speech to the American Medical Association, Obama said that charges of rationing were a “fear tactic.” From the speech:
We know the moment is right for health care reform. We know this is an historic opportunity we’ve never seen before and may not see again. But we also know that there are those who will try and scuttle this opportunity no matter what who will use the same scare tactics and fear-mongering that’s worked in the past. They’ll give dire warnings about socialized medicine and government takeovers; long lines and rationed care; decisions made by bureaucrats and not doctors. We’ve heard it all before and because these fear tactics have worked, things have kept getting worse.
By employing the term “fear tactic,” the president is clearly denying the charge, because if rationing is part of Obamacare, it isn’t a fear tactic, but rather, a fact tactic.
The president went even further, explicitly denying the rationing charge in a speech dated July 18, 2009. From the speech:
Finally, opponents of health reform warn that this is all some big plot for socialized medicine or government-run health care with long lines and rationed care. That’s not true either. I don’t believe that government can or should run health care. But I also don’t think insurance companies should have free reign to do as they please.
So, either Obama knew Obamacare would lead to rationing and wasn’t telling the truth when he said it wouldn’t, or his Secretary of Health and Human Services is taking it in that direction without his consent, a highly dubious proposition.
The time has come to call health care rationing what it is; invidious discrimination by a polite name. Once the centralized planning of medical delivery is complete—with cost containment boards controlling the standards of care and the extent of coverage for both the private and public sectors—insurance companies, HMOs, and the government will be able to legally discriminate against the sickest, most disabled, and most elderly in our country—in other words, those whose care is most expensive. Making maters even worse, now, when a private company denies efficacious treatment, it can get into big trouble from the lawyers and regulators. But with rationing, the lawyers will be disarmed by government fiat and the regulators will be on the side of the rationers instead of the patients.
Unless the centralized control authority of Obamacare is revoked, the government will, in effect, impose a duty to die through rationing on the most weak and vulnerable—which eventually means on all of us. Repeal. Replace. Reform. Defund.