Ex-Obama Medicare Chief Don Berwick: Consumer-Driven Health Care a ‘Vicious Idea’

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When Don Berwick left his post as acting administration of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, I thought it was a win-win. Berwick, would “finally, once again, be able to say what he truly thinks” about the “darkness of private enterprise.” Well, it didn’t take long. Last night, according to the Boston Globe, Berwick described the idea of giving more patients direct control over their own health spending as a “vicious idea.”

“Most people do not use health care as a recreational good,” argued Berwick, at yesterday’s debate sponsored by Boston’s Pioneer Institute. But Berwick makes a logical leap: are non-recreational goods somehow immune to the laws of economics?

I’ll have more to say when the Pioneer Institute posts the video from the event, but in the meantime, here’s some vintage stuff from Berwick’s speech to the British National Health Service. “You could have let an unaccountable system play out in the darkness of private enterprise,” he told the Brits, “instead of accepting that a politically accountable system must act in the harsh and admittedly sometimes very unfair daylight of the press, public debate, and political campaigning…Britain, you chose well.”

Also seen in MassDevice.