PRESIDENT BARACK Obama was adamant: His health care overhaul would not put Americans on the road to British-style, government-run medicine. Speaking to the American Medical Association last June, the president dismissed as “scare tactics and fear-mongering’’ all talk of “socialized medicine and government takeovers; long lines and rationed care; decisions made by bureaucrats and not doctors.’’ A few weeks later he reiterated the message: “I don’t believe that government can or should run health care.’’
But if Obama is as opposed to a government-ruled health sector as he claims, why has he nominated Dr. Donald Berwick as director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services — far and away the nation’s largest health-insurance programs, at a cost of nearly $1 trillion — a man who openly adores Britain’s socialized health care?
“I am romantic about the National Health Service,’’ Berwick told a British audience in 2008. “I love it.’’ He not only loves the National Health Service, he extols it as “an example for the whole world — an example . . . that the United States needs now.’’
This Berwick thing is a study in contradiction. First radical consumerism versus rationing, now this.