You have to be pretty smart to understand healthcare. Ask the faculty at Harvard. They were generally strong advocates for the Affordable Care Act during the initial debate – after all, healthcare should be a right and not a privilege. We are a rich nation and progressive, means-based cost-sharing seems only fair. Wealthier Americans should shoulder more of the cost.
In what has become a widely commented upon piece in The New York Times, Robert Pear wrote about healthcare realities, and the Affordable Care Act hitting the venerable bastion of liberal thinking, Harvard University.
When a meager $250 deductible was put between Harvard employees and healthcare, the employees were up in arms. When a hint of things to come with the Cadillac Tax was mentioned in employee communications, the employees were enraged. How can this be fair? How can Harvard employees be asked to pay for needed care? Yet the cost-sharing is modest as compared with widely available coverage.
I thought of driving to Boston with a sign that says “Cherish your 91% actuarial value healthcare plan; many under ACA receive a plan which pays only 60% or 70% of the cost of care.” And most Americans pay far more for their share of premiums – particularly for coverage for spouse and children – than do those in higher education.
And narrow networks – not likely an option for Harvard since payment limits would mean eliminating some of the institutions’ own fine doctors and facilities.
It’s not fair, but as we redefine healthcare, we all will need to come to terms with compromise and we all will need to pay more.
So perhaps these big thinkers at Harvard will better understand the complexities of healthcare delivery and put their enormous resources to work to find a better, more workable solution – now that the realities have hit home.