In today’s American Spectator, I discuss Gingrich’s foot-in-mouth disease as it relates to health care. He has been on the wrong side of every important reform controversy. He has even praised the egregious Donald Berwick:

Don Berwick at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement has worked for years to spread the word that the same systematic approach to quality control that has worked so well in manufacturing could create a dramatically safer, less expensive and more effective system of health and health care.

In other words, we can save lots of money if we treat patients as widgets. Gingrich has also praised the individual mandate and  government-financed end-of-life counseling. To read the rest of this sad story, click here.

Comments 3

  1. Steven Goldfien wrote:

    Dear Mr. Catron,
    I am a practicing physician, active in medical politics and a firm believer in limited government. I have read a number of your columns and agree wholeheartedly with most of your thinking. One difference between us is that I get called during the middle of the night to come to the hospital and provide free care for those without the means to pay for it. After years of reflection, I have come to the conclusion that healthcare is not a right, but it is a duty and I agree completely with Mr.Gingrich’s comment on that subject. This conclusion is based on the fact that our society has already decided, both morally and legally, that everyone has a right to emergency health care. The relevant statute is the EMTALA law with which you are no doubt familiar. This being the case, denying care, even in a case where the patent has acted irresponsibly is simply not an option. No 20 year old should be able to go without health insurance until she racks herself up on a bicycle, incurs a closed head injury, and receives a million dollars worth of free care at taxpayer expense. Not only that, a system of private insurance in which no one can be excluded for prior conditions (something the public will demand even if Obama care is repealed) cannot exist unless everyone is forced to contribute. A mandate of some sort is necessary and I see no way around it. That said, I oppose the Individual mandate under Obamacare because 1) it is overreach of federal power, and 2) the mandate is not limited to catastrophic care as it should be. If Mr. Gingrich supports the mandate under the terms of Obamacare then I would oppose him but on a philosophical basis I do believe he is correct. Thank you and I look forward to reading more of your work.

    Posted 28 Nov 2011 at 11:50 am
  2. Floridian wrote:

    The disputed medical errors study you refer to has withstood challenge and its findings have been validated and extended by later work.

    Notably, it has been show that relatively simple but much-resisted measures like using checklists for even the most routine procedures can prevent medical errors, and that a reorientation of medical error investigations away from liability issues and toward remedy finding like aircraft accident investigations hold promise for delivering improvements in the standard of care.

    The sounder basis for criticism of Gingrich is his tendency — common to a certain type of smart person of usually liberal politics — to pick up ideas and bits of information from areas in which they lack expertise and fashion them into supposed reforms to be imposed by government.

    In that respect, Gingrich’s tendencies conflict with the respect that modern conservatism has for knowledge and expertise. In the particular context of health care policy, conservatism urges that medical professionals usually know what they are doing far better than political candidates and public officials without expertise in the field.

    Posted 28 Nov 2011 at 3:02 pm
  3. Diogenes wrote:

    The disputed medical errors study you refer to has withstood challenge and its findings have been validated and extended by later work.

    Has it indeed? I note that you provide no citations. A quick search for this validation produces some curious results. For example, the IOM report was “validated” by “Crossing the Quality Chasm” and again by “Five Years After ‘To Err is Human’: What Have We Learned?”

    What I “have learned” is that the driving force behind these “validations” was none other than Donald Berwick, who also played a major role in producing the original IOM report.

    Where I come from, this kind of validation is known as “home cooking.”

    Posted 28 Nov 2011 at 9:51 pm

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