Donald Berwick: The Man Who Wanted to Save Medicare

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

There's no question that our American health care system needs fixing. Dr. Donald Berwick, the man who was in charge of Medicare and Medicaid until last Thursday, was committed to ending waste. "Much is done that does not help patients at all," Dr. Berwick recently told The New York Times, "and many physicians know it." Dr. Berwick's quest to reform Medicare and Medicaid, the result of a temporary appointment made by President Obama last year, came to an end after just 17 months.

Joe Nocera, a columnist for Takeaway partner The New York Times, recently sat down with Dr. Berwick.

Comments [2]

Why not negotiate with pharm companies as source of savings/funds for Medicare? Is this a sacred cow benefitting the drug companies at the expense of the American People?

The restriction ag Medicare Part D negotiating with pharm companies has been in effect since 1/1/2006. It is included as part of the Medicare Prescription Drug Act of 2003 effective January 1, 2006, enacted when George H.W. Bush was president. *

This restriction is specific to Medicare. Federal agencies in other other programs do negotiate prices/establish formularies with drug companies. For ex, the Department of Veterans Affairs, pays 58% less for drugs, on average, than Medicare Part D. Taking Lipitor as case in point, Medicare pays $785 for a year's supply of Lipitor (atorvastatin), while the VA pays $520.*

This provision has been in contention since enactment as a free pass to the drug companies that directly comes out of the pockets of the elderly and vulnerable.

If reevaluated, what was outcome? If not, when? and, If not to be reassessed, why not?
Thank you.
Carole Spivack
* Wikipedia

Dec. 10 2011 10:33 AM

Three professional journalists agreeing with each other wondering why he is opposed for confirmation by conservatives. Hey, inquisitive journalists, how about asking a conservative expert on socialized medicine who opposes him?

The debt crisis was avoidable no thanks the Pelosi "disfunction in Congress" last year when the Democrats could have raised the debt ceiling and taxes quickly but deliberately passed it on to the Republican Congress that promised to cut the deficit that Pelosi and Obama quadrupled.
It is amazing how misinformation on this issue is constantly repeated here.
This in not journalism; it is public relations.

Dec. 06 2011 09:39 AM

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