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Heard on the Hill: Health Care’s Mob Boss?

Death panels are so 2010.

Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) — or Dr. Phil, as we like to think of him — wants the world to know the real threat to Americans’ health care could be a mob boss.

Speaking at an Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing last week, the GOP Doctors Caucus co-chairman came prepared with the all-time favorite Congressional accessory: enormous posters.

His three poster boards featured quotations from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Don Berwick — sayings that Gingrey said made him worry that the administration plans to deny health care to seniors.

But the final poster also featured an iconic image: the Godfather, calmly holding a cat, next to Berwick’s words.

“I cannot believe that the individual health care consumer can enforce, through choice, the proper configurations of a system as massive and complex as health care,” the poster quoted Berwick as saying. “That is for the leaders to do.”

How deliciously evil, Mr. CMS Administrator. This is so evil that your words sound just like government-speak and are difficult to understand upon first reading — or even second.

“I would simply suggest you read carefully the words of the head of CMS, Dr. Don Berwick,” Gingrey told the committee as the audience snickered. “You might even want to refer to him as Don Corleone.”

HOH is sure the gentleman from Georgia doesn’t mean the good doctor goes around ordering severed horse heads for people’s beds. But then, perhaps, a little intimidation could help him get that Senate confirmation he has been waiting for …