Monday, September 6, 2010

Where To Put All That Money......

The Disease Management Care Blog figured Don Berwick would keep a low profile. Yet, thanks to this update from Kaiser Health News, the DMCB caught up with with the healthcare brouhaha in the body politic. In addition to declining interview requests for interviews with the Boston Globe, Dr. Berwick's been busy managing the billions of dollars of research/demo hyperalimentation for our academic-industrial complex. The tone of the Globe article suggests that Dr. Berwick's Boston groupies are already measuring the drapes for their new research office wings.

Yet, assuming Dr. Berwick is interested in eventually securing a U.S. Senate confirmation, the DMCB calculates it would be politically savvy to keep most of the Affordable Care Act booty out of Massachusetts. It won't take much (relatively speaking, hundreds of millions is not a lot) to appease his posse and make Sen Scott Brown (R-MA) think twice about voting against him. The smart money says to swing the billions toward the States with potential Senate allies in his upcoming confirmation hearings: moderate Republicans and wavering Democrats.

Which is the problem. Despite Dr. Berwick's reputation for scientific excellence, he'll inevitably have to struggle with conflicts of interest - between allocating precious national treasure on the basis of scientific merit and granting pork on the basis of holding onto political power. Welcome to their world, Dr. B.

The DMCB predicts this will be one of the more interesting stories of the fall health reform news cycle. Where will all that money go and how will a sympathetic news media, Dr. Berwick's allies, his critics and, most importantly, the U.S. Senate respond? Stay tuned.

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