Democrats Refuse to Hold Medicare Rationing Czar Hearing
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin (D-Mich.) is refusing to hold public hearings to examine administration plans to implement a new health care rationing system at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).
The president’s new Medicare Rationing Czar, Sir Donald Berwick, is a big fan of British health care rationing.
“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 an interview prior to his recess appointment to head CMS.
Will government death panel bureaucrats bar age-related pacemaker surgery for grandma and prescribe a pain pill instead – as President Obama recommends?
"Apparently, House Democrats are really taking Speaker Pelosi’s ‘we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it’ style of governing to heart. Now, we have to hand the reins at CMS over to Dr. Berwick first so we can later find out what direction he will take Medicare and Medicaid,” said Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, after Levin refused to hold a public hearing.
Berwick was given a recess appointment by the President – a process put into place for emergencies that has been abused by this and other presidents.
Of course, Obama has taken this particular abuse of the Constitution to new heights.
Republicans had not blocked Berwick’s appointment. Senate confirmation hearings had not even been held before Obama made the “emergency” appointment during a week-long Senate recess over the 4th of July.
Now Levin, the Democrat chairman of the House committee with CMS oversight responsibilities, is refusing to hold public hearings to question Berwick about his “eyes open” plans to restructure CMS into a health care rationing body.
“At a time when Democrats have implemented the most radical changes ever to the nation’s health care system, they are refusing to conduct the proper and necessary oversight required by the Committee,” Camp said.
Camp also pointed out that Democrats are so secretive about implementing Obamacare that Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hasn’t been before the committee in over a year.
“Despite the one-half trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare, estimates that health care costs will continue to skyrocket and billions of dollars in increased costs to small businesses as a result of their health care bill, the Committee has not held a hearing with the HHS Secretary in more than a year and has yet to bring the CMS Chief Actuary before the Committee this Congress despite repeated requests by Committee Republicans,” Camp said.
Berwick’s preferred health care model is the British National Health Service (NHS) having said he is “in love with the NHS," Britain’s government-run health system. Berwick went on to say the NHS is “such a seductress,” that it is “not just a national treasure, it is a global treasure.”
News reports out of Britain over the past week show Berwick’s paramour has further collapsed under her own weight.
The New York Times reported Saturday that Britain is undertaking a massive overhaul to decentralize its disastrous socialized health care system.
Practical details of the plan are still sketchy. But its aim is clear: to shift control of England’s $160 billion annual health budget from a centralized bureaucracy to doctors at the local level. Under the plan, $100 billion to $125 billion a year would be meted out to general practitioners, who would use the money to buy services from hospitals and other health care providers.
The new emergency British health care plan — entitled “Liberating the National Health Service” — is downsizing its bureaucracy because socialized medicine costs too much, rations care and limits access.
One of the new goals included in the sweeping changes listed on page three at the link sums up all you need to know about Britain’s big government health care:
4. a. Shared decision-making will become the norm: no decision about me without me. [Emphasis in the original.]
Now I suppose they’ll let you in the room when death panel bureaucrats deny your cancer treatments?
The London Telegraph reported Saturday it had uncovered new cuts at Britain’s NHS including kicking terminally ill patients out of the hospital; rationing even common procedures including hip replacements and cataract surgery; telling dying cancer patients to manage their pain on their own if their condition worsens at night or on weekends so that doctors don’t have to come in to treat them; closing nursing homes for the elderly; slashing the number of hospital beds – including those for the mentally ill – and discouraging general practitioners from sending patients to hospitals.
Just last week the London Telegraph reported leaked documents exposing scandalous shortages leaving patients high and dry and literally on the operating table at cash-strapped hospitals:
The document records: “The trust in different areas had run out of underwater sealed chest drains, epidural packs, gynaecological disposables, radiological disposables, and the response to this was ‘this was a cash flow issue.’”
Doctors told managers “again and again” that consultants were unable to know that equipment was missing until the last item had been used, when their patient was already lying on the [operating] table, according to the minutes of June 16 meeting.
The document states that Chris Streather, the trust’s chief executive said the situation had improved to the extent that the trust could now pay some of its bills, but that he could not promise that the problem would not recur.
It describes “significant risks” to patient safety because of shortages of beds, and “chaotic” failures dealing with such crises at the trust, which also runs Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup, in Kent, and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Woolwich, London, and NHS units in Orpington and Beckenham, in Kent. Patients affected include a woman who had undergone major cancer surgery who could not be found a bed.
These are not isolated incidents in the system our new Medicare Rationing Czar finds “seductive.”
American Medicare is already rationing health care through denial of certain tests and procedures – and when Medicare denies coverage, they’re not talking about denying payment. Unlike private insurance, when Medicare denies payment, the government blocks the patient from undergoing the procedure.
Medicare patients today are barred from paying their own doctors with their own money for any procedure Medicare denies. That’s called rationing. Ask your doctor about it.
And while you’re asking questions, call your member of Congress and ask why Democrats won’t allow Sir Donald Berwick to talk about his new scheme for America’s Medicare system in public.