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A response to letter about Berwick
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       I am responding to Mr. Tom Grovenstein's letter of July 18 in the Statesboro Herald on the appointment of Donald Berwick (Mr G and Mr B for the sake of brevity) as the chief administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMMS).
       Mr. G is disingenuous in both his use of language and his use of punctuation. He places CMMS in quotation marks as if this were an agency dreamed up by the current administration. It isn't - it has been around for years and was known as the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) until 2001.
       Mr. G also states that Mr B "was appointed as a czar" and alleges this position doesn't require any approval. Wrong. Mr B was appointed as the Chief Administrator of the agency. This position requires Senate approval - unless a recess appointment is used. A procedure which George W. Bush used over 45 times. It's not a new procedure! If this position were so critical, so divisive, and so troubling, why has the position been vacant since September 2006? The last president surely had ample time to identify and name a replacement (who would have met with Senate approval?).
       Mr. G also states that Mr B believes the US should "redistribute wealth". I beg to differ. The only statement regarding wealth redistribution from Mr B relates solely to health care in the first (partial) quote cited. I encourage people to read the entire quote. I find no information which would allow anyone to ascertain Mr. B's overall political views. Furthermore, his powers as head of the agency are limited and have nothing to do with taking money out of your pocket and putting it into someone else's.
       Let's be clear, I agree with a lot Mr. G has to say (in other letters). The federal deficit is too high. It is not the sole fault of the current administration. The federal government spends too much money. Still not the sole fault of the current administration. The debt is due to entitlements (Social Security, Medicare) and defense. These items have been kept off the budget for too long. Redistribution of wealth is not the issue - the issues are 1) fair taxation - however you want to define it, 2) reduced spending - on entitlements, defense, and earmarks (eliminate them - make every appropriation a recorded vote!)
       To debate the issues, we do not need partial quotes out of context. We do not need hot button words such as "czar" when a position (Chief Administrator) is clearly established by Congress. And voting against the "party in control" is not the answer unless you have a better candidate more suited to your views.
       And I agree: go to Wickipedia, look up Donald Berwick, make up your own mind.
Bryant Garner

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