Time Magazine with new profile of CMS chief Don Berwick

After speaking very little, Berwick made a speech today too.

This from Time Magazine. Nice lead.

Donald Berwick, the new and controversial head of Medicare and Medicaid, has a bum knee.

The trouble started about 40 years ago when Berwick, playing soccer, suffered a painful partial dislocation of his kneecap. He underwent surgery, which was unsuccessful and followed by a second surgery, and he later developed a terrible case of osteoarthritis.

Beyond the pain, the whole incident troubled Berwick because the first knee surgery was later discredited for his injury. “In retrospect, a brace and some exercises would almost certainly have been enough,” he wrote in a 2005 journal article describing the experience. “My first knee operation may well have been done not because my knee problem was there, but because the knee surgeon was there.”

The story epitomizes the controversy surrounding Barack Obama’s new top health care official, named to his job in July. His critics think he wants to ration all health care. His fans believe he understands better than anyone how hospitals and physicians operate inefficiently and profit from unnecessary procedures when less invasive, simpler and cheaper remedies can sometimes work as well — or even better.


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