This week’s award goes to Joe Paduda, who has discovered something that escaped the notice of most health reform commentators—Donald Berwick is a conservative. Paduda makes his award-winning claim over at Kevin, MD:
The recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick as head of CMS has incited a furor among politicians outraged at what they claim are his advocacy for rationing … What’s really troubling about all this, in addition to the blatant political motivation, is Berwick is pretty closely aligned with core conservative values.
Paduda backs up this bizarre assertion by cherry-picking a variety of quotes that suggest Berwick is some sort of patient advocate. In reality, Berwick believes that patients are too dumb to make their own health care choices:
I cannot believe that the individual health care consumer can enforce through choice the proper configurations of a system as massive and complex as health care. That is for leaders to do.
In other words, Berwick is for imposing top-down health care “solutions” that ignore the wishes of patients and their physicians. That is not indicative of “conservative values.” Nor is the following Berwick statement:
Any health care funding plan that is just equitable civilized and humane must, must redistribute wealth from the richer among us to the poorer and the less fortunate. Excellent health care is by definition redistributional.
Paduda laments the alleged failure of Berwick’s critics to learn “what the guy really stands for,” but he might want to take his own advice. Those “claims” that Berwick is for rationing, for example, are based on his assertion that:
[T]he decision is not whether or not we will ration care; the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.
So Paduda is the clear winner of this week’s award. To suggest that anyone with Berwick’s views on rationing, wealth redistribution and the market holds “conservative values” is just plain dumb.