Dr Donald Berwick is gone. The man who was appointed by President Barack Obama last year to head the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services would not be confirmed by Republicans in the Senate so the administration is nominating his deputy instead.
The White House deemed it "unfortunate that a small group of senators obstructed his nomination, putting political interests above the best interests of the American people," but from this blogger's perspective, it's exactly the interests of the American people they had at heart.
This was the man who professed any health care plan "that is just, equitable, civilized and humane, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate." Good health care, he stressed, "is by definition redistributional."
So he loved Britain's collectivized health care system which he described as "not just a national treasure" but "a global treasure" that should serve as a model for the "bloated" American health insurance market. The United States, he added, were trapped in "the darkness of private enterprise" whereas the British model was "generous, hopeful, confident, joyous, and just."
Which is odd given that Britain's ombudsman determined this year that the very system was "inhumane" and failed to meet "even the most basic standards of care."
But wait, it gets worse. Berwick lamented the fact that "the chronically ill and those toward the end of their lives are accounting for potentially 80 percent of the total health care bill out there." He foresaw the need for what he called "a very difficult democratic conversation," adding: "The decision is not whether or not we will ration care. The decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open."
Suddenly, Sarah Palin's "death panels" didn't seem so preposterous when Berwick's nomination was announced. This man shouldn't be anywhere near making health care decisions for anyone. Good riddance indeed!