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November 8, 2014- By Steven E. Greer, MD
Probably no other university in the country was more influential in helping President Obama pass his ACA law than Harvard. Prominent faculty, such as David Cutler and Atul Gawande, wrote white papers and essays that were cited by congress and the mainstream press as compelling reasons to reform healthcare.
Now that ObamaCare is passed, and working very well at reducing utilization of expensive healthcare services, those same Harvard professors are feeling the pinch in their personal finances. The new health plans created by ObamaCare have new deductibles that will cause the professors to shell out up to $4,500 for surgeries, admissions, and medical imaging.
Also, Harvard is anticipating a significant inflation in healthcare premiums as a result of the new health insurance policies that are required to cover all people, regardless of pre-existing conditions, etc. That is another reason for the new out-of-pockets costs that serve as a deterrent to utilization.
Harvard Magazine wrote, “At the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS) meeting on November 4, a rare standing-room-only crowd of professors raised objections to two recent University actions…..The second resulted in an outpouring of passionate criticisms of the changes in health benefits unveiled September 3, which will subject faculty members and nonunion staff employees in Harvard’s benefit plans to coinsurance and deductibles for hospitalizations, surgeries, and diagnostic imaging beginning in 2015—potentially exposing families to new costs of up to $4,500 per year. At the end of that discussion, faculty members present voted unanimously for a motion calling on the University to rescind the benefit changes.
The UBC also worried about the need to prepare for future healthcare inflation, Garber said. Accordingly, the committee sought to moderate the growth in health costs by balancing the premiums….and higher costs borne by employees who incur higher medical expenses—but with caps of $1,500 per individual and $4,500 per family per year.”
Perhaps the phrase, “Be careful what you wish for” applies here. The liberal Harvard faculty fought hard for Obamacare. Now they have it, high-deductibles and all. The old days of endless fee-for-service Cadillac treatment are over.