Lawmakers playing nice? Ha! April Fools'!

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It's April Fish Day again, and I think we could all use a little bit of levity.

It's been a hard slog lately, what with healthcare reform and all, and both sides are pretty tired from all the battling. So I offer a couple of "news" items that I know I would like to see, and could imagine writing in a perfect world.

(I've got to make sure to tell you that neither of these are real, of course, but I suspect you all would have figured that out anyway.)

1. Lawmakers, relaxed from April recess, bury the hatchet, promise full cooperation

In a joint statement issued April 1, top legislators from both parties have said that the current congressional recess is so relaxing, they've decided to work together peacefully from now on.

“We recognize that there have been some heated debates over the last year,” wrote Senate leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY), along with House counterparts Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and John Boehner (R-OH). “But now that we've had these few days to relax at home, we realize how crazily we've all acted.”

The bipartisan leaders pledged to usher in a new era of cooperation, saying that things will go smoothly in Washington from here on out.

There will be a national day of celebration April 1 to commemorate this new spirit of bipartisanship. Initial reports from the Capital indicated there was some disagreement over which refreshments would be served at the gala event, but lawmakers quickly compromised on hot dogs, apple pie and red Kool-Aid.

2. Berwick to use skills learned as a Knight to slay healthcare waste

Don Berwick, expected nominee to the top spot at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire, told reporters April 1 that he would battle healthcare waste and fraud using all his knightly skills.

As a Knight Commander, an honorary title bestowed upon him in 2005 by Queen Elizabeth II, Berwick is highly trained in the arts of medieval battle—skills the CMS nominee says he will use to eliminate fraud in Medicare and Medicaid. Unlike predecessors Mark McClellan and Thomas A. Scully, Berwick will be armed with a broadsword and longbow, and protected by a layer of chainmail beneath his suit of armor.

“Those accused of defrauding Medicare or Medicaid will face me in hand-to-hand combat,” Berwick said April 1 of his new plans for CMS. “Personally, I prefer to joust, though I'm also quite the swordsman.”

Before being nominated to the post at CMS, Berwick served as president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, where he challenged healthcare providers to reduce costs without limiting services, defeated the Black Knight and rescued the Princess.


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McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.

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