Heartland Exposes Radical Agenda of CMS Head Donald Berwick

Published July 22, 2010

The American public has learned a good deal this month about the radical views of Dr. Donald Berwick, the new head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, thanks to the efforts of The Heartland Institute. Ben Domenech, Heartland research fellow and managing editor of Health Care News, used some old-fashioned investigative reporting to track down video footage of a speech Berwick delivered to a British audience in 2008.

In that speech, Berwick praised Britain’s regime of socialized medicine and expressed his displeasure with the (sadly) limited free-market forces in the American health care system. Berwick mocked the “invisible hand of the market” and described American health care as an “unaccountable” system that we allow to “play out in the darkness of private enterprise.”

In Berwick’s view: “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.”

Domenech found that section of Berwick’s speech and promoted the video clip in May, which accelerated a massive controversy over Berwick’s nomination. The negative public reaction spurred by the revelation forced President Barack Obama to resort to the recess-appointment process on July 7, bypassing what would have been a contentious Senate confirmation hearing.

Heartland’s Berwick clip was played by the most popular talk show hosts in the country, including Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Dennis Prager, Steve Malzberg, and almost certainly many others. The talk show hosts listed by name above have a combined listenership of nearly 70 million people. Excerpts from the Heartland video also were played on the Fox News Channel, including the most-watched shows on cable – The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity – which boast nightly audiences of 3.4 million and 2.4 million, respectively.

In addition, the Berwick video – and a follow-up containing similar comments about the redistributionist philosophy of the new head of CMS – have been viewed nearly 50,000 times on YouTube. The videos were shared on The Drudge Report and scores of influential blogs, including Real Clear Politics, Hot Air, Instapundit, Redstate, The Daily Caller, Michelle Malkin, and Big Government–which together reach more than 2.5 million viewers every day.

Links to the video clips: