nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Friday, July 9, 2010

Obama's Head Of Medicare: A Wet Firecracker

 
Dr. Donald Berwick may be a great pediatrician but his "love" of rationing and anti-innovation philosophy would have been led to a difficult Senate approval vote.

As I read the comments of supporters of Dr. Berwick, who wax eloquent about his credentials as a "patient-centered" advocate of health care, I'm struck by how often he is hailed for his Harvard credentials and progressive organization leadership. His repeated comments about rationing health care, and admiration for the British health care system (a system that has failed its population in access to care, cancer survival, and advanced technology) are dismissed as "out of context."

But...so MANY comments, and ALL out of context?  No, I think we can interpret his comments as valid.

What's all the fuss, though?  Here's why I think this will be a wet firecracker.

First, Dr. Berwick will find himself confronted by a huge, entrenched, unionized federal bureaucracy.  The harder he pushes, the more inertia he will encounter.  Second, any chorus of patient complaints over denied coverage will go straight to the patients'  Congressmembers.  And members of Congress LOVE to show constituents how outraged they can be (this has nothing to do with political party).

So, despite his views, Dr. Berwick will have a rough road.  Push back will be incredible, and most of the damaging things he puts in place during his tenure (which may be only 1 year or so...as a recess appointment) can probably be fixed.

I was thinking about the Harvard credentials bit.  The President (also a Harvard man) has surrounded himself with a lot of Harvard experts.  We've seen the "great" results from his economic policy advisors.  So, why is it that all they elite experts seem to get things wrong?  I refer you to David H. Freedman's recently published book, Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us. A great analysis of why experts don't know how to solve problems in the real world.

Freedman gives great "tips on how to glean facts from the mass of published misinformation," and offers 11 never-fail rules for not being misled.

He admits, of course, that he might be wrong.

Doc D
 
 
 
 

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