NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 20, 2010

The passage of President Obama's health care plan in March was really just the beginning, says Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Senate Republican Whip and a member of the Senate Finance and Judiciary.  Over the coming months and years, federal agencies will be writing the rules and regulations to implement the new law.  One of the key figures in this process will be Dr. Donald Berwick, whom President Obama recently appointed to serve as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 

During the health care debate, we were assured that there would be no rationing of care under the new law.  Dr. Berwick supports rationing and hasn't been afraid to admit it.  In fact, his views track nicely with the way health care is administered in many European countries.   He has lauded the British national health care system, which routinely denies and rations care, as "extremely effective" and "conscientious." 

According to the non-profit, non-partisan National Center for Policy Analysis: 

  • Breast cancer mortality in the United Kingdom is 88 percent higher than in the United States, prostate cancer mortality is 604 percent higher, and colorectal cancer mortality is 40 percent higher.
  • Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in the United Kingdom.
  • British patients wait about twice as long -- sometimes more than a year -- to see a specialist, have elective surgery like hip replacements, or get radiation treatment for cancer. 

Nevertheless, Dr. Berwick believes "The National Health Service is one of the truly astounding human endeavors of modern times." 

For now, it will be important to monitor closely the actions taken by CMS, with the ultimate goal of repealing the health care law and replacing it with reforms that preserve the sacred doctor-patient relationship and ensure access to the highest quality of care, says Kyl. 

Source: Sen. Jon Kyl, "Key health plan official push through," Yuma Sun, July 19, 2010; and Scott Atlas, "10 Surprising Facts about American Health Care," National Center for Policy Analysis, Brief Analysis No. 649, March 24, 2009. 

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