Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Fix for Medicare?!? Repubs Say 'No Dice, Barack'

Donald Berwick
Here is another prime example of the Republican headlong dash toward governmental mediocrity, based entirely on the narrow political philosophy of beating Barack Obama. It seems to be all Repubs stand for these days.

Dr. Donald Berwick of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement was President Obama's choice to help solidify Medicare, but Republicans in Congress blocked the appointment because ... well, that's not clear, but he did praise the Brits for their system and that seems to be a prime mover for these xenophobes.  Obama knew the Repubs opposed this wild-eyed socialist, so he gave him a temporary appointment to the position, one that didn't require their approval. That lasted a year and in that year he got a lot done. Now, he's gone.

After Elizabeth Warren's rejection as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for vague political reasons (there is nobody in the world more qualified for that position, which she created), this one grates strongly, maybe even more. Warren is strong, smart a woman who irritated the hell out of the old boys on the right side of the aisle of the Senate because she was so much more intelligent and honest than they are. Berwick is a humble man who says things like, "I ... think Medicare can be a force for change" and "I tried to reconceptualize it as an improvement organization.”

That means, in effect, he  believes he can help save a ton of money, make significant changes to the way healthcare is delivered and stabilize the program to the satisfaction of both Repubs and Dems. That would be no mean feat, but if it were accomplished, the credit of Obama would likely go to the administration and if the Repubs stand for anything at all, they stand for fighting Barack Obama every step of the way, even when the step makes sense to them. I think somebody once described that as "cutting off your nose to spite your face." Those no-nose Repubs get uglier every day.

(Photo: heinzawards.net)

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