House Democrats Refuse Hearing on Pro-Rationing Obama Czar Donald Berwick

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 27, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

House Democrats Refuse Hearing on Pro-Rationing Obama Czar Donald Berwick

by Steven Ertelt Editor
July 27
, 2010

Washington, DC ( — Like their counterparts in the Senate, House Democrats are refusing to hold a hearing on the recess appointment of rationing advocate Donald Berwick, whom President Barack Obama named to become the director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Obama appointed Berwick without a hearing or vote in the Senate and, even though he complained about that, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus will not put together a hearing.

Now, Connie Hair of the conservative newspaper Human Events reports House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Sander Levin won’t hold one either.

Both top Democrats are denying public hearings on Berwick even though he will be charged with helping lead the implementation of the new national health care plan Obama signed into law that concerns pro-life groups on abortion and rationing issues.

Rep. Dave Camp, a pro-life Michigan lawmaker who is the leading Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, responded to Levin’s refusal to hold a hearing.

"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,” he said, according to HE.

“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.

Human Events indicated Camp also pointed out that the Obama administration has been so secretive about the implementation of the new health care plan that pro-abortion Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius hasn’t appeared 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.

News of the refusal to hold hearings in the House comes on the heels of new information showing the rationing czar has lifetime health care insurance from an institute paying him millions of dollars.

Berwick has ties to the Institute for Healthcare Improvement where Berwick received $2.3 million in 2008 in compensation. His salary from the organization was $637,006 in 2007 and $585,008 in 2006.

Research into Berwick’s background found a small paragraph inserted into an audit report noting the members of the board of directors approved, in 2003, health insurance coverage for Berwick and his wife "from retirement until death."

"Millions of Americans worry about securing coverage and paying for it. Berwick, who advocates rationing for the masses, will never be one of them," Washington Examiner writer Byron York responded.


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