Friday, April 2, 2010

Uwe Reinhardt Says Americans Want to Have Their Health Reform Cake and Eat It Too

Uwe Reinhardt, that unrepentant liberal Princeton Professor of Health Economics with a wicked sense of humor and a gift for condescending mockery at anything that deviates from his belief in a U.S single-payer system that mimics European or Canadian-type systems , is at it again.

In his blog, the elitist professor mocks the American people for their unrealistic beliefs in what an ideal system ought to be.

Spoiled Americans, he seems to be saying, are dreaming an impossible, selfish, and self-aggrandizing dream.

His blog sets forth ten things American want in their health system, a system that,

“1.Lets only patients and their own physicians determine how to respond clinically to a given medical condition, never an insurance clerk or, even worse, government bureaucrats.

2. Limits their families’ out-of-pocket payments for health care to make it “affordable.”

3. Keeps insurance premiums and taxes for health care low.

4. Does not ever ration health care, because that is un-American and practiced only by un-American alien nations with inferior health systems.

5. Does not allow public or private insurers to let “costs” or “cost-effectiveness” ever enter coverage decisions, because that would implicitly put a price on human life which, in America, unlike elsewhere in the world, is priceless.

6. Does not mandate individuals to purchase health insurance, if they do not wish to do so, if for no other reason than that this would be unconstitutional and, therefore, un-American.

7. On the other hand, grants every American the moral right – backed up by a government mandate called EMTALA – to receive critically needed and possibly high cost health care from hospitals and their affiliated doctors, even if they are uninsured and could not possibly pay for that expensive care with their own resources.

8. Controls Medicare spending, which is widely thought to be completely out of control, as long as it does not reduce payments to hospitals or to doctors or to producers of medical technology, or to any other provider of health care.

9. Provides universal health insurance coverage to all Americans, provided it does not mean rising taxes or cutting Medicare spending or raising premiums on healthy Americans.

10. Keeps government out of health care but somehow makes sure that insurance companies do not exploit patients through incomprehensible fine print, no one engages in price gouging – e.g., charge $10 for an aspirin – and no one in health care earns excessive profits (or any at all).”

Presumption and Assumption

My presumption and assumption is that Professor Reinhardt feels unlimited centralized government programs would wash away these American illusions, restore compassion, and establish collectivist sanity to the health system.

And that’s the view from Princeton, where undergraduate students pay $33,000 tuition, $4885 for room, and $4315 for board, to learn from Professor Reinhardt and other faculty members about ignorance of ordinary Americans about evils of capitalism – the fruits of which allow students to attend Princeton

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