President Obama’s reported pick to run Medicare and Medicaid, Donald Berwick, has argued for a “radical transfer of power” in the health industry and claimed patients’ quality of care in the U.S. medical system is currently measured by the “color of their skin,” WND has learned.
The Financial Times and other news organizations yesterday quoted an administration official stating Obama intends to nominate Berwick to take the helm of the largest medical payer in the nation – the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The news emerged as the White House announced it had sidestepped Senate confirmations by appointing 15 nominees to administration positions, including a controversial top lawyer for two U.S. labor unions.
Berwick, president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, has been widely recognized as one of the most sought-after experts on health-care quality. In 2005, Modern Healthcare, a leading industry publication, named Berwick the third most powerful person in American medicine.
The deeper Berwick has gotten into the (health-care economic) problem over the last decade, the more radicalized he has become. At this point, mild-mannered, soft- spoken, self-effacing 57-year-old Don Berwick can best be described as a revolutionary. A lot of people say the current health-care system is broken, but by that they mean the manner of financing it. Berwick gets irritated when health-care leaders complain about a lack of resources.
“There’s too much money in the system already,” he says.
His critique takes aim at the medical profession’s exalted view of itself. He’s convinced that the fundamentals of the current system – the same fundamentals Boston used to build its reputation as the world’s medical leader – are so screwed up that it is no longer possible for the medical profession to provide reliable, high-quality care, no matter how many innovations its renowned doctors roll out, no matter how many awards they rack up. “They want to cure cancer,” Berwick says. “Well, how about curing health care?”
His conclusion: To save the health care system, it first needs to be blown up.