He must know that his column will raise the ire of those on one side or the other of the health care debate, and then what he says will likewise be used in the political debate. I am confident that he raises these issues because he senses a need for someone to speak directly and help our political leaders on both sides of the aisle do the right thing.
He starts with a plain-spoken summary: "As the dean of Harvard Medical School I am frequently asked to comment on the health-reform debate. I'd give it a failing grade."
And then he leads to an important point: "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." Hmm, that sounds familiar and is strongly supported by everything I have heard. He continues, "So the overall effort will fail to qualify as reform."
But, for me, the major insight is this: "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."
And finally: "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."