Commentary Magazine


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For Thee but Not for Me

The reason given by the White House for ignoring the Constitution and giving Dr. Donald Berwick a recess appointment to head Medicare and Medicaid — Republican obstructionism and delay — was transparently phony. Republicans, with only 41 senators, have no power to delay committee hearings, delay the committee vote, or delay the matter being taken up by the whole Senate.  Only then might Republicans be able to delay or obstruct by mounting a filibuster.

What the administration feared, of course, was that Republicans might use the committee hearing and the Senate debate to ask inconvenient questions about ObamaCare and to put that monumental boondoggle back on the front page only a couple of months ahead of the election.

But Byron York at the Washington Examiner reports that the Republicans would also have been asking some inconvenient questions about Dr. Berwick. As has become so characteristic of modern liberalism, Dr. Berwick is a for-thee-but-not-for-me kind of guy. He has gone on record advocating rationing of health care. (“The decision is not whether or not we will ration care — the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.”)

But there won’t be any standing in line for Dr. Berwick and his wife, nor will there be denial of treatments deemed too expensive by some bureaucrat. He and his wife will “not have to deal with the anxieties created by limited access to care and the extent of coverage. In a special benefit conferred on him by the board of directors of the Institute for Health Care Improvement, a nonprofit health care charitable organization he created and which he served as chief executive officer, Berwick and his wife will have health coverage ‘from retirement until death.’”