Harvard Medical dean gives Obama/PelosiCare an F

Jeffrey S. Flier, the dean of Harvard Medical School, takes on Washington’s approach to health reform, and no side is spared his disapproval:

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.

Speeches and news reports can lead you to believe that proposed congressional legislation would tackle the problems of cost, access and quality. But that’s not true. The various bills do deal with access by expanding Medicaid and mandating subsidized insurance at substantial cost—and thus addresses an important social goal. However, there are no provisions to substantively control the growth of costs or raise the quality of care. So the overall effort will fail to qualify as reform.

Those of you who think this debate is about reining in the insurance companies, think again:

Worse, 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. (emphasis added)

He goes on to describe the changes that are already necessary in Massachusetts just three years after that state passed health legislation with many similarities to the bills which Congress is debating. There, a commission has concluded that within five years the state’s health-payment system must be overhauled. Flier notes that “the details of this massive change…are completely unspecified by the commission, although a new Massachusetts state bureaucracy clearly will be required.”

He continues:

So the majority of our representatives may congratulate themselves on reducing the number of uninsured, while quietly understanding this can only be the first step of a multiyear process to more drastically change the organization and funding of health care in America. I have met many people for whom this strategy is conscious and explicit.

We should not be making public policy in such a crucial area by keeping the electorate ignorant of the actual road ahead.

Is it too much to ask for any federal health reform to get at least a passing grade from a man like the Harvard Medical School dean? Note to Congress: Start over.

95 comments Add your comment

jconservative

November 18th, 2009
10:31 am

I read this as an indictment of plans now in congress but also as an indictment of the present system. This is pretty strong language.

My concern is, and has been, the cost. If I may emphasize Flier’s remarks:
1 – “Our health-care system suffers from problems of cost…and needs major reform.”
2- “Tax policy drives employment-based insurance; this…drives costs upward…”
3 – “And deep flaws in Medicare and Medicaid drive spending…”

As I say frequently, CMS (Medicare/Medicaid) will spend $803.1 Billion in FY 2010. This will double in a few years & triple in 20 years. No one in Washington has proposed anything to deal with this.

Talk about Harry Truman’s “Do Nothing… Congress”, the Do Nothing crowd we have now would put that bunch to shame.

My suggestion to everyone is to stop voting for incumbents.

Kyle Wingfield

November 18th, 2009
10:37 am

Like I said, no one is spared in his piece. He also takes the pro-Obama and anti-Obama crowds to task.

Bottom line: We need real health-system improvement too badly to settle for the “solutions” we’re being presented right now.

booger

November 18th, 2009
11:08 am

When overhauling the health system, it would be nice if the government would keep in mind that 70% or so Americans are satisfied with their current plans. Instead, they have tried to convince people that the entire system is in shambles, and insurance companies are the spawn of the devil.

The second suggestion I would have is to present an honest, and simple explaination of how we will pay for this. The deception and game playing with the current proposals has cost congress and the president a lot of credibility. This will clearly be a hugh task, but it needs to be done.

David Axelfraud

November 18th, 2009
11:32 am

But….but…..but…….I thought Harvard was 100% on President Acorns side?

What we need is tort reform, access to insurance across state lines and people not abusing the system. My wife is a doctor and one of her biggest complaints about patients is how some of them come in for things that are not necessary.

misplaced

November 18th, 2009
11:37 am

If we can finance a war we can get health care for our own citizens. We cannot go on the way things are now it will only get worst. 70% might be happy now but that does not change the fact that the cost for that 70% will rise unless changes are made.
I would rather have my taxes being used to treat fellow citizens then liberate countries who could really care less.
This link http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33975919/ puts a face to the human tragedy that is our heath care system. To do nothing is a shameful, to scare people with misinformation about health care is a sin.

David Axelfraud

November 18th, 2009
11:45 am

misplaced, huh, imagine that. A liberal news channel pushing stories about a few people all to try to cram a crappy health care bill down our throats.

Cue violins……………..AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEE.

Who is scaring who? Not one democrat, including Obama or Pelosi, has read the health care bill.

Here’s an idea for you misplaced, how about I rig up some document, not read it and make you sign it? Makes about as much sense as your logic about the health care bill.

David Axelfraud

November 18th, 2009
11:52 am

misplaced, does Keith Olberman tell you when to sit and speak?

The American People

November 18th, 2009
12:36 pm

Why rush this thing through Mr. President if the program doesn’t start to 2013? That is kind of fishy, we think that is after the 2012 elections, coincidence? No, we don’t think so. We have seen your antics sir and your lack of listening to us, the American people, so we will think twice about voting for you again.

Gregg

November 18th, 2009
12:41 pm

David Axelfraud tort reform is not the answer all. If it were so simple why was it not suggested when the Republicans had the senate and the presidency. My question is you say tort reform what makes tort reform so much better than the propose.
I do agree that insurance companies should be allowed to cross state lines. It should be like you car insurance where you can bundle you life and house under it and get discounts. Hell they even sell credit protection now.
I think we need the government option for no other reason than we have small monopolies in every state selling insurance and raising rates for whatever reason they may chose. We have no alternative. I own my own business and insurance for me and my family costs me over a $1,000 per month. That is ridiculous. I welcome the goverment option, I trully do.

@@

November 18th, 2009
12:43 pm

Let’s see if this posts.

All I’ve ever asked is that they start over in a fishbowl with us on the outside looking in rather than being on the inside, waiting to get hooked. But nooooooooo, the dems wanna label those of us who question their bill as radicals, nazis, thugs.

About the thread downstairs “One not-so-short list for the GOP in 2012″. My guy is in the bottom tear. He’s got everything I’m looking for in a presidential candidate. Not over the top in any aspect. Just smart where we need him to be.

I’ll not mention his name.

I noticed, too, that Gen. Petraeus is down there. I’d love to see Gen. Honore on that list. Don’t know what his party affiliation is, but more people need to hear his question….the one he used on assignment during the Katrina rescue. “What are ‘ya….stuck on stooopid.?”

It was addressed to the media. LUV THAT GUY!!!! He’s very smart.

Gregg

November 18th, 2009
12:44 pm

@ The American People I doubt that you voted for him the first time. The healthcare industry NEEDS to be overhauled, as stated by both McCain and Dole. Who are you listening too? Are you one of the ones that says that the 9/11 terrorist should not be tried or housed in the US because Rush (the drug addict) says so?

Gregg

November 18th, 2009
12:50 pm

@@ don’t you label anyone that goes along with the President policies as communist, anti-American etc. I do not agree with everything the President has done or will do. Please do tell me when the Republicans have came to you before making a policy. Did they ask you before they bailed out Wall Street? Did they call and ask you Opinion before they invaded Iraq? Did they ask your Opinion before they gave their buddies no bid contracts for the government? I thought not. Look at the issuse as though you are on either side. That is the best way to debate an issue. step outside of yourself.

Steve

November 18th, 2009
1:01 pm

Gregg,
I believe most the people on this thread are willing to look at change to the system. We just don’t think ANY plan should be rushed through the system in a matter of months. Especially when many of the people voting have not read it.
But way to try to redirect the subject to something else when you don’t have anywhere else to go.

Linda

November 18th, 2009
1:01 pm

The Mayo Clinic released this statement 7/16/09, “…the proposed legislation missed the opportunity to create higher-quality, more affordable health care for patients. In fact, it will do the opposite. In general, the proposals…are not patient focused or results oriented…The real losers will be the citizens of the U.S.”

Gregg

November 18th, 2009
1:06 pm

@ Steve what am I redirecting? Read the posts that I am answering to. This is not the first time something was rushed through congress without someone reading it, or is it? If I am not mistaken the initail bailout was that way! the rush to go to war was that way. Do you only see it now that this administration is doing it? Again please tell me what I am redirecting though. I would really appreciate it.

Gregg

November 18th, 2009
1:11 pm

@ Steve, I like to think I am a fairly intellegent guy. I like to understand things as they are presented to me. You said “Especially when many of the people voting have not read it.” Then why are you against it or believe what is negatively being said since no one has read it?

Gregg

November 18th, 2009
1:17 pm

@ Kyle why did you only post the anti-Obama rethoric? I am sure you would agree, that you can always find someone to defend your point of view. You have the dean from Harvard are there any other schools that agree with the propose “soultions” that are being offered?

@@

November 18th, 2009
1:27 pm

Gregg:

I’ve never said Obama was a communist OR anti-american. A liberal in favor of socialist policies who’s in over his head. Absolutely!

I’ve learned a lot about politics over the last 5…6 years. In answer to your questions:

No. I was opposed to Bush’s TARP (e-mailed the WH) and every bailout, stimulus, omnibus bill that has followed. Just like the health care bill, all were sold as urgent. I’m putting my foot down! The government should no longer be allowed to profit by invoking fear into its people.

No. Going to war is an authority only Congress is given. Need I remind you that democrats voted in favor of Iraq?

No. You talkin’ Halliburton? How many companies, at the time, were able to offer the strategical service that Halliburton did? One. Does it look suspicious? Sure it does. Doesn’t change the fact that there was only one with the systems, people and contacts in place to get the job done.

Now feel free to go into your conspiracy theorist mode. I won’t be here to watch. But…if it makes you happy….who am I to deny you the pleasure? When one’s life is beyond your control, they’ll look for someone other than yourself to blame. It’s a momentary choice. Then the sun comes up and they start all over again.

See ‘ya!

Kyle Wingfield

November 18th, 2009
1:33 pm

“Any other schools,” Gregg? I’m sure someone, somewhere thinks this is an A+ idea — probably the special interests that Flier mentioned.

My point in passing along Flier’s opinion was two-fold. First, he makes very good arguments that no one — in Congress, in the media, on this or other blogs — has come close to refuting. Second, the dean of Harvard Medical School is not exactly a right-wing corporate shill (or whatever liberals like to call those of us who oppose ObamaCare). I would consider his opinion to be a fairly neutral one, politically speaking.

@@

November 18th, 2009
1:35 pm

Gregg:

I responded to your 12:50. For some reason it didn’t materialize. I’ll check in later after reconstruction.

I’ll address your accusation right now.

I’ve never called Obama a communist, nor have I said he’s anti-american. I have said he’s a liberal who’s in over his head, promoting socialist policies that I don’t support.

Rest to follow.

I’m out the door for now.

Steve

November 18th, 2009
1:38 pm

Greg,
Your comment “Are you one of the ones that says that the 9/11 terrorist should not be tried or housed in the US because Rush (the drug addict) says so?”
That’s a totally different issue.
Also, I never said whether I was for or against the plans. I said, “We just don’t think ANY plan should be rushed through the system in a matter of months. Especially when many of the people voting (e.g. Congresspersons) have not read it.”

Jefferson

November 18th, 2009
1:38 pm

What is there to like about what you have? Increased co-pays, increased deductibles, evasive claim paying practices, premiums rising far more than income. In network vs outnetwork. Preapprovals Just what is it that these people like. I work for a small business and this is what you get with “good insurance”. Fear is what drives that question and answers.

Linda

November 18th, 2009
1:41 pm

The second sentence of the report is a problem no one talks about. An employee who receives “free” or partially “free” health care thru their employer does not pay taxes on it, whereas an employee who receives additional salary in lieu of benefits or someone who is self-employed pays taxes on the income.
The employer is able to deduct health care insurance costs more favorably than the self-employed. This is highly unfair.
The self-employed tend to have less health insurance coverage than those employed. Many self-employed people have only catastrophic coverage & pay out-of-pocket for all visits, tests, procedures & medicines. Many employees have no idea what the cost is of health insurance, visits, tests, procedures & medicines & have no incentive to minimize them or their cost.
The third party payer system is a huge problem.

Gregg

November 18th, 2009
1:43 pm

@@ Please answer this for me when you get a chance. We spend BILLION$ of dollars in foreign countries yet we balk at the idea of helping each other. We sit in pews asking to be made whole yet wew only worry about us and those next to us. We tend to ask for help from the government when we need it yet frown when others need it. We have yet we refuse to give. We ask for blessings yet do not want to bless anyone with the very thing(s) we were blessed with.
There are many people out there that lost their jobs and homes, some to no fault of their own. If this policy helps them not have to worry about one thing, then I am all in.
@Kyle, ask how many doctors still see the clients that were laid off and lost their insurance in one of your blogs! I am interested to see how many are or were willing to do that? With so many out of work who is looking out for their best interest. I say if we ALL want better healthcare let’s vote away the plan that all congressmen have and put them into one of our plans and see how fast this gets fixed.

Kyle Wingfield

November 18th, 2009
1:56 pm

@@: Fwiw, I have no idea why some of your comments are published immediately and others go to moderation. This happens to a couple of other folks as well. Apologies.

Gregg

November 18th, 2009
1:56 pm

@ Linda 1:41pm. I agree with you. Like I said I don’t like the entire plan however I do not, let me change that, I know there is not a plan that would appease everyone. I say look at who is pushing either way (for or against) and see who backs them. What are their agendas to getting this passed or killed. Somethings done may not benefit me but in most of those cases I AM the minority. I understand it is done for the betterment of the whole and not just the fractions. This is what I teach my son in little league. Everything is not about YOU it is about US.

David Axelfraud

November 18th, 2009
1:58 pm

Gregg, the Repubs DID say something about tort reform. They have been saying it for YEARS! The reason it’s so bad now is because President Acorn has caused us to have over 10.2% unemployment. Before that, people HAD jobs.

Bottom line: PRESIDENT OBAMA SAID THAT PEOPLE ARE LOSING THEIR JOBS EVERY DAY.

THE REASON THEY ARE LOSING THEIR JOBS IS BECAUSE HE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL HE’S DOING. WHY? BECAUSE HE IS AN INEXPERIENCED MAN CHILD WHO HAS NEVER HAD ANY POWER PRIOR TO THE PRESIDENCY.

Health care is not even in the top five issues among the America people. The economy is. Don’t you think it odd that 64% of Americans polled DO NOT want government health care?

Obama and the democrats, including you, have not read ANY of the health care bills. Obama never ever ever came up with one. When he says MY health care plan, HE DOESN;T HAVE ONE!

David Axelfraud

November 18th, 2009
2:00 pm

Gregg wrote: I think we need the government option for no other reason than we have small monopolies in every state selling insurance and raising rates for whatever reason they may chose. We have no alternative. I own my own business and insurance for me and my family costs me over a $1,000 per month. That is ridiculous. I welcome the goverment option, I trully do

Yeah Gregg, that’s because people are not allowed to get their health insurance in other states. Gee, you ever think about that?

You want welfare? Have it pal.

Gregg

November 18th, 2009
2:01 pm

@ Steve again if no one has read it how can they be so dead set against it or Like you say for it. But my point is you make it seems as though this is the first time this has happened.
And the comment you are reffering to I was talking to “The American People” because he/she said that the President Obama was not listening to them. So I was wondering who has listen to them. It was just a question.

Gregg

November 18th, 2009
2:05 pm

@ David Axelfraud first of this depression started before President Obama got in office or were you not around then. It took 8 years to destroy the economy but you want it fixed in less than 1. Secondly, ask many of the people who are unemployed what are their two biggest issues and I guarantee healthcare is among them. Do not get confuse because you and I have that everyone else does too. It should boggle your brain that so many people are against something they know nothing against.

Churchill's MOM

November 18th, 2009
2:05 pm

This has been up and the fraud has only made 4 post, hopefully he is ill.

I agree with the writer and wish the Democratic plan was better but most of congress is just a shill for special interest. B+ for today wingboy..

Linda

November 18th, 2009
2:06 pm

Gregg@ 1:41, Dr. Flier referred in his article to the rhetoric on both sides of the health care reform debate. I would not call comments from the Dean of Harvard Medical School “rhetoric.” I offered comments from the Mayo Clinic @ 1:01 that also do not support the current legislation. If you can find an equally bipartisan prestigious school or medical organization who thinks the current bill offers any “solutions”, I would be most interested in reading your post.

Gregg

November 18th, 2009
2:07 pm

@ Churchill’s MOM I agree with you and wish we had a better option however we have to start somewhere. Nothing starts out perfect and that is why you have rough drafts.

Gregg

November 18th, 2009
2:11 pm

@ Linda I only ask why both side of the argument was not posted. In all of the Bi-Partisan rulings on this issue both side are prodded and chastized. I would like to see what is said regarding both not to just take out the sections that you agree with but the whole work. This plan is not perfect by any means of the imigination. This is new and will develop. This is the rough draft yet everyone expects it to be perfect.

David Axelfraud

November 18th, 2009
2:16 pm

Gregg, what planet were you living on? The economy was fine when Bush was in office. 4.4% unemployment. Lower than when Clinton was in office. Oh that’s right, you blame everything on Bush. Your dog gets run over. Bush’s fault. Your house catches fire. Bush’s fault. Obama screws up for the last 9 month. Bush’s fault.

Do you and your ilk ever take responsibility for anything? Do you teach your kids to blame others?

Gregg, I will say this as politely as possible. THE REASON PEOPLE ARE SCARED IS BECAUSE THE DEMOCRATS, INCLUDING DOPE AND CHANGE, NEVER READ ANY OF THE BILLS. YOU HAVE NOT READ IT EITHER. YOUR LOGIC IS HORRIBLE AND YOU CAN NOT TELL ANY OF US CONSERVATIVES HOW WE WILL PAY FOR ANY OF IT!

David Axelfraud

November 18th, 2009
2:19 pm

Gregg, one more thing. I trust insurance companies 1000% more than I would trust the DMV to run health care. I also trust my doctor more than a community organizer.

misplaced

November 18th, 2009
2:21 pm

Axelfraud No I do not listen to Olberman but it seems that you do follow the rest of the wing nuts or at least like to use the sound bits they provide you with.
I guess you agree that it is ok to basically hand the Insurance companies blank checks and then allow them to do as they want with little or no over site. I am tired of people like you who are slowly turning this country into a banana republic
We spend more money trying to run the world and can’t feed or care for our own citizens. If you want a Banana Republic that bad maybe you should move to one.
Also that Free clinic was reported on by many new sources not just MSNBC. The point you missed was that 80% of those who were seeking treatments have jobs.

David Axelfraud

November 18th, 2009
2:21 pm

Gregg wrote: Secondly, ask many of the people who are unemployed what are their two biggest issues and I guarantee healthcare is among them. Do not get confuse because you and I have that everyone else does too.

Gregg, I ask you to please……please learn how to write competent sentences. Please.

People who don’t have jobs are worried about health insurance because………THEY DON’T HAVE JOBS! THEY WANT JOBS. OBAMA PROMISED JOBS. THERE ARE NO JOBS.

GET IT?

David Axelfraud

November 18th, 2009
2:24 pm

misplaced, I will side with a private company over government ANY DAY! Government has NEVER solved problems. You state that “we” have been messing up other countries. Huh, think for a second.

Who is screwing up other countries? OUR FREAKING GOVERNMENT! NOT COMPANIES, NOT INSURANCE COMPANIES. THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. THE VERY PEOPLE YOU WANT RUNNING YOUR LIFE.

Linda

November 18th, 2009
2:28 pm

Greg, Who is the “we” you referred to at 12:41? The American people have ALWAYS been there for each other without a dime having to go thru the govt. We help one-on-one & thru our churches & other charitable organizations. The govt is NOT a charity. It is neither effective not efficient. The dollar I send to the govt is only 25 cents by the time it reaches the needy, a year later, after the fraud & red tape is deducted.
Yes, some doctors treat patients who cannot pay.
The fact that the current house bill is not good enough for our law makers should speak loud to you about its quality.

Gregg

November 18th, 2009
2:30 pm

@ David Axelfraud I could lower myself to your level but I refuse to lower myself to your standards. It is so clear that you live in a fantasy world were everything is wrong becuase the people you want are not in office. You are probably a lonely sore little man. You said your wife is a doctor (yeah right). What do you do? What branch of the service were you in? What was you MOS?

oldimer

November 18th, 2009
2:30 pm

I think, since much of the current health care proposals will not take effect till after the next (012) big election, that we all just slow down. Much of America’s health care plan is not broken. I for one like my insurance ok. And I have two children who have to purchase their own insurance. The cost is not too great and they make way more than I did at their age. I will say they spend more time shopping around for, say, the flu shots, than I do; or medicines for that matter. We need to pick out one problem at a time and try to fix it. For example; Let the private companies create an affordable solution for those with pre-existing conditions. Then move on to the next issue.

Churchill's MOM

November 18th, 2009
2:31 pm

Looks like I woke the Fraud up, could you cut back to 1 relevant post a hour?

David Axelfraud

November 18th, 2009
2:34 pm

Churchill’s MOM, why don’t you take your own advice?

David Axelfraud

November 18th, 2009
2:36 pm

Gregg, my standards? Ok ma’am. Didn’t know you couldn’t handle a little debate. Oh, by the way, you may want to check your hypocrisy at the door. After you say you won’t sink to my level, whatever that means, you call me a sore lonely little man.

Poor Gregg.

Gregg

November 18th, 2009
2:42 pm

@ David Axelfraud you didn’t answer my questions sir? Are you avoiding them for some reason? Are you lonely and we your only friends. Are you the little man of the house that is only allowed to speak when your wife is not home? Please do tell what do you do or have you done for your country besides cry on blogs for Kyle to ban someone?

David Axelfraud

November 18th, 2009
2:42 pm

Gregg, when did I say that I was in the military? I work for a large corporation in Chicago that makes big planes fly better. You’ve probably heard of them. My wife is a doctor and she would run circles around you any day.

You wrote: What was you MOS?

Um, speak proper English, Gregg. If you want a serious debate then you have to use correct English.

David Axelfraud

November 18th, 2009
2:44 pm

Gregg, your questions are irrelevant but I answered the four that you asked above. One, I don’t owe you any explanation as to who I am or what you do.

Ha, Gregg tries to insult me. Poor little Gregg. Oh, right, yeah, I asked Kyle to ban a person who threatened me. I also asked him to enforce his own rules. You know, people who call other people names. Sort of like…….you.

Linda

November 18th, 2009
2:45 pm

Gregg@1:56, The current plan is a farce. It has little to do with health, care, insurance or reform. We will never have true health care reform until it includes tort, & we’ll never have tort reform as long as lawyers are running the show in DC. There’s too many lawyers in Congress. The huge percentage of lawyers & firms support Dems. Check this out for yourself.
The intent of the health bill is NOT to reform health care & it doesn’t. It makes it worse.
I read above some of the ways you feel that health insurance should be reformed & I agree with you. However, this bill doesn’t include them.
I also read above that you own your own business. I don’t know if you’re self-employed. Many people who are have HSA’s. This bill will phase them out. That’s not reform.
It requires businesses to provide health insurance. I’m not saying that’s a bad idea, but it’s a very stupid idea during the worst unemployment problem in decades, as was raising the minimum wage just recently.

David Axelfraud

November 18th, 2009
2:46 pm

Gregg, I will debate you on any topic. The problem I have with you is that you have tried to change the subject on my personal life which has nothing to do with anything. Please, try to debate the topic and spend less time calling me names. Thanks-Axelfraud.