There are a number of reasons for this recess appointment. The most obvious is that President Obama doesn't want debates on his Obamacare in the months leading up to the election, and since Berwick is an unashamed advocate of single-payer (government) health insurance in general and the British national health care system in particular, his hearing confirmations would make it pretty clear that Obamacare moves us inexorably toward that.Pournelle is on target here.
The latest reports from Massachusetts show that pretty clearly. Obama has said that his system is similar to the Massachusetts system, and that system is going broke. The premiums keep rising, and the private insurance companies can't stay in business the way things are. The Massachusetts health care experiment has been a train wreck.
Berwick is certainly qualified to head a national health care system (for a pro-Berwick piece see the Washington Post). He's also a realist about what that implies. A few years ago he said that sick people tend to be poorer, and poor people tend to be sicker, and if you want an excellent, humane, and rational health care system it is going to be redistributive. It has to be. An excellent national health care system requires redistributing the wealth.
Of course that's true. It's also the last thing Obama wants debated this summer and fall.
And one of the important points that ObamaCare opponents will need to be emphasize is that in because any national health care system will necessarily redistribute wealth in a massive fashion, it will be anything but "excellent" in both the moral and practical senses.
Instead, it will be unjust (in the sense of depriving some people of their rights to attempt to guarantee others' bogus entitlement "rights") and it will destroy the quality of American health care.
(Pournelle link via Instapundit.)