“The decision is not whether or not we will ration care. The decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open,” Dr. Donald Berwick told a National Institutes of Health publication about a year ago, back when he was simply president and CEO of the Institute for Health Care Improvement. Now that President Obama has appointed Dr. Berwick to serve as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services - an instrumental role in implementing health care reform - the worries have begun.
“Donald Berwick is a one-man death panel. While Americans may not remember the agency he heads, he will quickly become known as Obama’s rationing czar,” predicts David N. O’Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life, where medical ethicists fret that Dr. Berwick’s policies could ultimately deny lifesaving care to aging, ailing Americans.
“Dr. Berwick is another example of President Obama’s extreme liberal agenda,” says Tom McClusky of FRC Action, the legislative arm of the Family Research Council - who is wary of Dr. Berwick’s professed admiration for British-style socialized medical services.
“Americans should keep their eyes open to guard their health from Donald Berwick’s extreme view of medicine. He will only bring America’s high standards for health care services down, and hurt Americans through rationing and lower standards of medical treatment,” Mr. McClusky adds.
President Obama’s deft “recess” appointment of the aforementioned physician while Congress is out presumably swimming and boating has been ignored by broadcasters for the most part.
“It had to be big news, right? Well, not according to NBC, CBS and ABC, as there was no mention of the President’s decision Tuesday night,” says Media Research Center analyst Geoffrey Dickens, who adds that the “embargo on the information” continued into Wednesday, save for a 20-second mention on NBC’s “Today” show.
“They were much more enthusiastic about the news that actress Lindsay Lohan was sentenced to 90 days in jail for her run-ins with the law as they devoted 21 minutes and 37 seconds to the starlet,” Mr. Dickens adds.
ANOTHER APOLOGY TOUR
Levi Johnston, former swain of Bristol Palin and father of Sarah Palin’s grandson, is at the 14 minutes and 50 seconds marker of his 15 minutes of fame. He has flaunted his notoriety, posed nude and criticized all things Palin, but has switched to sincere mode, issuing a carefully worded mea culpa to the family, published in People magazine.
“Did the Palins get to him? Did they sit him down?” asks ABC News anchor Jeremy Hubbard, pining for a whiff of conspiracy.
Mr. Johnston’s curtain call combines trite press and happenstance, yielding a teachable moment.
“Johnston publicly apologizes to the Palins, but will the mainstream media do the same?” asks Mike Opelka, a BigJournalism.com contributor.
“People magazine’s latest piece on that rapidly dimming Northern Light known as Levi Johnston is no surprise to people who know and respect Sarah Palin. The only ones astonished to discover that a 17-year-old boy lied in order to get famous are the professional journalists who would rather interview TinaFey pretending Sarah Palin than to be forced to actually speak with the former vice-presidential candidate herself,” Mr. Opelka says.