Obama Spokesman Evades Question About Rationing Appointee Donald Berwick

Bioethics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 30, 2010   |   12:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Obama Spokesman Evades Question About Rationing Appointee Donald Berwick

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
July 9
, 2010

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Robert Gibbs the main press spokesman for President Barack Obama is coming under criticism for evading a question about the rationing views of his new recess appointee Donald Berwick. He’s the rationing advocate who is now overseeing the Medicare and Medicaid office.

Berwick is also charged with the task of helping to lead the implementation of the new government-run health care law Obama signed that includes massive abortion funding and rationing.

During the Wednesday White house press conference, a reporter from CNS News wanted Gibbs to respond to a question about whether Obama was really confident about Berwick given some of his comments.

Berwick said in a speech delivered on July 1, 2008 that “Excellent health care is by definition redistributional."

“Among the controversial comments that he’s made in the past that would have come out in a Senate confirmation hearing are that ‘excellent health care is’—‘excellent health care by definition is redistribution,” said CNSNews.com. “Some of the others were mentioned. Does the president actually agree with that comment?”

Gibbs evaded the question, saying, “Look, this is somebody who is uniquely and supremely qualified to run an agency that is important to our government, it’s important to seniors, it’s important to implementation of the new health care law."

“And this is somebody supported not just by Democrats but by, as I said earlier, Tom Scully and Mark McClellan, who ran this agency–both of whom ran this agency for George Bush.

“But does the President agree with the previous statement?” asked CNSNews.com in a followup, but Gibbs again avoided answering and accused the reporter of plying politics.

“I know that this is the exact type of political game that the American people have come to understand dominates Washington and doesn’t actually make their health care more affordable,” he said.

“You just read comments,” said Gibbs. “Is there like a secret comment book that somehow you got that nobody else got, and you just read a couple of them to me–and somehow they wouldn’t have come out? Did he say things like, ‘rationing happens today; the question is who will do it’? Did he say that? Did he say that?”

Gibbs then claimed the comment was made by pro-life Rep. Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who is a leading critic of Obama’s health care scheme.

However, Ryan was asking a question in a Washington Post interview, saying he worried government would ration: “Rationing happens today! The question is who will do it? The government? Or you, your doctor and your family?”

The conservative news service followed up with an email to him on Thursday.

"On July 8, CNSNews.com sent Gibbs an email that included a link to a YouTube page on which is posted a video of the portion of Berwick’s July 1, 2008 speech in which Berwick made the comment. Gibbs was also provided with a transcript of the relevant segment of the video and a copy of the July 26, 2008 edition of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) which published a written adaptation of Berwick’s speech,: CNS stated in a report about the evasion.

Again, Gibbs avoided answering the question.


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