Berwick: Attacks on healthcare law 'beyond cruelty'

"That is hogwash," Berwick said. "It is purveyed by cynics, it employs deception and it destroys hope. It is beyond cruelty to have subjected our elders, especially, to groundless fear in the pure service of political agendas."

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He called it a "travesty" that the attack derailed a proposal to help doctors provide more counseling about end-of-life care. Berwick also pushed back against charges of rationing, implicitly arguing that many of the GOP's healthcare proposals would come closer to rationing than anything in the healthcare law.

"It boggles my mind that the same people who cry 'foul' about rationing an instant later argue to reduce health care benefits for the needy, to defund crucial programs of care and prevention, and to shift thousands of dollars of annual costs to people — elders, the poor, the disabled — who are least able to bear them," Berwick said, according to The Globe's transcript.

The debate over rationing played a major role in derailing Berwick's nomination to lead CMS. Senate Republicans highlighted comments and academic articles in which he had praised the British healthcare system and called it a possible "model" for other countries. Berwick received a recess appointment by Obama after it became clear that there were not enough votes in the Senate to confirm him.