" 'Cynics beware, I am romantic about the (British) National Health Service; I love it," Berwick said in a July 2008 speech at England's Wembley stadium. 'All I need to do to rediscover the romance is to look at health care in my own country.'
While Berwick would not have the authority to impose a British health care system on the United States in one fell swoop, as head of CMS, he would be running both Medicare and Medicaid. Given that the two programs alone account for more than one out of every three dollars spent on health care in America (all government programs combined account for 47 percent), private players tend to follow CMS's lead. Berwick himself has made this point.
'(G)overnment is an extraordinarily important player in the American health care scene, and it has inescapable duties with respect to improvement of care, or we're not going to get improved care,' he said in a January 2005 interview with Health Affairs. 'Government remains a major purchaser.… So as CMS goes and as Medicaid goes, so goes the system.' "
" '(T)he Holy Grail of universal coverage in the United States may remain out of reach unless, through rational collective action overriding some individual self-interest, we can reduce per capita costs,' Berwick wrote in an article for Health Affairs he co-authored in 2008.
He went on to write that, 'The hallmarks of proper financial management in a system… are government policies, purchasing contracts, or market mechanisms that lead to a cap on total spending, with strictly limited year-on-year growth targets.'"
Elections certainly do have consequences, don't they?