Some choice words from Jeffrey S. Flier, Dean of Harvard’s Medical School. Some excerpts from his Wall Street Journal article:
Our health-care system suffers from problems of cost, access and quality, and needs major reform. Tax policy drives employment-based insurance; this begets overinsurance and drives costs upward while creating inequities for the unemployed and self-employed. A regulatory morass limits innovation. And deep flaws in Medicare and Medicaid drive spending without optimizing care. …
… there are no provisions to substantively control the growth of costs or raise the quality of care.
… In discussions with dozens of health-care leaders and economists, I find near unanimity of opinion that, whatever its shape, the final legislation that will emerge from Congress will markedly accelerate national health-care spending rather than restrain it. Likewise, nearly all agree that the legislation would do little or nothing to improve quality or change health-care’s dysfunctional delivery system.
… currently proposed federal legislation would undermine any potential for real innovation in insurance and the provision of care. It would do so by overregulating the health-care system in the service of special interests such as insurance companies, hospitals, professional organizations and pharmaceutical companies, rather than the patients who should be our primary concern.
Read the whole article: Health ‘Reform’ Gets a Failing Grade.
(Via Grace-Marie Turner’s summary of the politics behind getting the Dem’s bill passed. )
In a previous post I discussed how Obama’s advisor Jason Furman is critical of employer-sponsored insurance, even though Obama wants to “strengthen it.” In this Cato Institute podcast Michael Cannon talks about how other advisors have been critical of Obama’s health care policy proposals.
For example, Larry Summers will be head of the White House’s National Economic Council. On forcing employers to provide insurance, which Obama wants, Summers writes:
Suppose, for example, that there is a binding minimum wage. In this case, wages cannot fall to offset employers’ cost of providing a mandated benefit, so it is likely to create unemployment….
Mandated benefit programs can work against the interests of those who most require the benefit being offered…
There is no sense in which benefits become ‘free’ just because the government mandates that employers offer them to workers…
For more, see here.
Barack Obama says his health care reform “strengthens employer–based coverage.” But the government’s favoring employer-based coverage has had terrible consequences. Just ask Jason Furman, one of Obama’s economic advisors. In an article published in Health Affairs he wrote:
The tax exclusion effectively reduces the price of employer-sponsored insurance relative to insurance purchased through the individual market. As a result, it increases the take-up of employer insurance and reduces the take-up of individual insurance. The upside of this preference is that it can help resolve the market failures associated with adverse selection in the individual market by pooling various risks.* The flip side, however, is that it reduces competition and choice for enrollees that could otherwise lead to better-designed insurance plans. In addition, employer-sponsored insurance, in the absence of universal coverage, can promote job lock, inhibiting workers’ mobility and reducing productivity. …