Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Failing Grade For ObamaCare

Dr. Jeffrey Flier, the Dean of Harvard Medical School, has just given ObamaCare a failing grade in the November 18, 2009 Wall Street Journal.

He cites the current and pending problems in Massachusetts as part of his reasons:
...There are important lessons to be learned from recent experience with reform in Massachusetts. Here, insurance mandates similar to those proposed in the federal legislation succeeded in expanding coverage but—despite initial predictions -- increased total spending.

A "Special Commission on the Health Care Payment System" recently declared that the Massachusetts health-care payment system must be changed over the next five years, most likely to one involving "capitated" payments instead of the traditional fee-for-service system. Capitation means that newly created organizations of physicians and other health-care providers will be given limited dollars per patient for all of their care, allowing for shared savings if spending is below the targets. Unfortunately, the details of this massive change -- necessitated by skyrocketing costs and a desire to improve quality -- are completely unspecified by the commission, although a new Massachusetts state bureaucracy clearly will be required.
(Read the full text of "Health 'Reform' Gets a Failing Grade".)

I strongly share his concerns about the effect of capitation on quality of patient care, as I mentioned in my own November 2, 2009 LTE in the Wall Street Journal.