Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dr. Berwick and Rationing

Republican Senators are opposing the nomination of Donald Berwick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid on the ground that he is in favor of rationing care. Does anybody believe care isn't being rationed today? When an insurance company decides to let one patient have a certain treatment and not another, isn't that rationing? So my patient with occipital neuralgia who can't get approved for an occipital nerve stimulator, the 38 year old who couldn't get a heart transplant (who finally got approved), the patients who can't get the gastric electrical stimulator, patients who call every day about a medication they can't get -- is that not rationing? I'd rather have a man with a heart and an inspiring sense of right and wrong in charge than a nameless, faceless insurance bureaucrat. Dr. Berwick stands for a lot more than rationing. His Institute for Healthcare Improvement is a trailblazer.

This is about the Republicans hating health reform, not about Dr. Berwick. But since it's his confirmation hearing, it should be about him. Let's focus on the great things he has done and will do for healthcare in America. Jennifer


  1. At least with insurance companies decide not to cover certain procedures and medicines at least the consumer have other ways to obtain the care they want. What I am concerned is that there may not be other optitions when the gov is in control of my health needs. How is that better than the private insurance companies? If the socialized healthcare is so great than why are the politians exempt and some favored unions exempt from it?

  2. But the government is not taking control of your health care needs except for Medicaid and Medicare, which they already control. There is no socialized healthcare in America. It's a myth. All of your premises are wrong. There is and will be private insurance policies. You can choose the policy you want. None of that is going to change. Jennifer

  3. Thank you for responding so quickly. I sure hope you are right that I can choose the policy I want.

    Your profile says you are a lawyer. Have you read the whole or a significant amount of the healthcare bill?

  4. I have read every word of the health reform bill. I have been a lawyer for 25 years. I have followed the health reform bill very closely because this is my job, to explain all of this to patients. I swear to you that you will be able to choose your plan yourself, or your employer will choose your plan if you get insurance through your employer, just the way it works now. In fact, it will be easier once they get the exchanges up and running. You will be able to see all available plans in your state, compare benefits and prices, and make decisions with full information, so it will be easier to shop for insurance than it is now. If you want more info, the new federal web portal is http://www.healthcare.gov. You can already see the types of options that exist. Jennifer