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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 17, 2010 / 5 Tamuz 5770

In love with socialized medicine

By Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | President Barack Obama was adamant: His health-care overhaul would not put Americans on the road to British-style, government-run medicine. Speaking to the American Medical Association last June, the president dismissed as "scare tactics and fear-mongering" all talk of "socialized medicine and government takeovers; long lines and rationed care; decisions made by bureaucrats and not doctors." A few weeks later he reiterated the message: "I don't believe that government can or should run health care."

But if Obama is as firmly opposed to a government-ruled health sector as he claims, why has he nominated as administrator of Medicare and Medicaid -- far and away the nation's largest health-insurance programs, covering one out of every three Americans at a cost of nearly $1 trillion -- a man who openly adores Britain's socialized health care?

"I am romantic about the National Health Service," Dr. Donald Berwick, the president's pick for director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told a British audience in 2008. "I love it." Not only does he love the NHS, he extols it as "an example for the whole world -- an example … that the United States needs now."

From all accounts, Berwick, a pediatrician, is respected by his peers. He is the founder of the Cambridge-based Institute for Healthcare Improvement, and an expert on making patient care safer and more efficient. Among his supporters are Bill Frist, a physician and former US Senate majority leader, and several previous directors of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

But if Berwick's credentials cannot be doubted, neither can his ideological commitment to centralized state power over health care, or his disdain for the ability of markets and competition to improve the quality and lower the cost of medical services.

He has publicly saluted Britain's socialized National Health Service for rejecting the "immoral" American system and "the darkness of private enterprise." He declares that "the Holy Grail of universal coverage" cannot be achieved with consumer-centered health care, but only through "collective action overriding some individual self-interest."

And he embraces health-care rationing. "The decision is not whether or not we will ration care," he said in a 2009 interview, "the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open." This is a view Berwick has held for a long time; more than 10 years ago he wrote that "limited resources require decisions about who will have access to care and the extent of their coverage." Accordingly, he praises the NHS for "making tough choices" about the care it administers -- unlike the American system, in which the supply of medical care is not artificially restricted. "Here, you choose a harder path," he said in Britain two years ago. "You plan the supply; you aim a bit low; you prefer slightly too little of a technology or a service to too much; then you search for care bottlenecks and try to relieve them."

But those who have to live with the NHS and its "bottlenecks" don't always find them quite so admirable. For months, the British press has been reporting horror stories about the realities of government-run health care. Some recent headlines give a sense of the coverage:

"Overstretched maternity units mean mothers face a 100-mile journey to have baby."

"Hundreds of patients died needlessly at NHS hospital due to appalling care."

"Cash-strapped NHS trust introduces rationing for common children's conditions."

"Standard of care in some wards 'would shame a third world country.'"

"Stafford Hospital caused 'unimaginable suffering.'"

No one would deny that America's health care system is flawed in many ways. But when it comes to the standard that matters most -- the quality of health care provided -- our haphazard, expensive, insurance-based system towers above the NHS.

"In Britain 36 per cent of patients have to wait more than four months for non-emergency surgery," wrote journalist James Bartholomew in The Spectator. "In the US, a mere 5 per cent do." By one metric after another -- cancer survival rates, performance of diagnostic tests, availability of CT and MRI scanners, consultation with specialists -- US health care is superior. "British state-run healthcare," Bartholomew concluded, "is so amazingly, achingly, miserably, and mortally incompetent."

That's the system that leaves Berwick feeling "romantic" -- the system he proclaims an "example" for the United States. And Obama wants him to run Medicare and Medicaid? Let us hope at least 51 senators say no.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Jeff Jacoby is a Boston Globe columnist. Comment by clicking here.

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