Profs Focus on Care Reform

Medical School's Fein Favors Single-Payer Plan, Universality

A panel of professors focused on different aspects of health care reform at the Kennedy School of Government last night, from the viability of a single-payer system to the ability of insurance companies to subvert new legislation.

Rashi Fein, professor of economics of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said he would favor a single payer plan over Clinton's proposed health care plan.

He stressed the importance of universality for the program, to put "everybody in the same program or in some program."

Fein said that simultaneous reform of both the economy and the health care system, as the administration is currently attempting, is a difficult task to undertake.

He also criticized professors of academia in general for not fulfilling the need to speak on the issues. "We are expected to speak what we conceive as the truth," Fein said.


Deborah Stone, Pokross Professor of Law and Social Policy at Brandeis University's Heller School, agreed with Fein by emphasizing the importance of universality.

Stone also concentrated on health care reform's impact on the insurance industry. "The crux of reform to me is can we do away with this perversity--the perversity being the insuring of the healthy?" she said.

Stone outlined steps to insuring the sick, including an end to health alliances. Yet she said she believes that insurance companies will be able to manipulate health insurance packages, even after a system that includes managed care takes effect.

Mark Peterson, associate professor of public policy and political science at the University of Pittsburgh, contrasted the current U.S. health care system with a more efficient Canadian system.

Peterson, who has studied health care for a number of years and taught at Harvard until this year, said the United States currently spends 30 to 40 percent more per capita than Canada.

The seminar,"The Politics of Health Care Reform," was the first in a five-part series, "Future Directions for American Politics and Public Policy," which will be conducted throughout the academic year.

The seminar concluded with a question and answer period, which was followed by several workshops. The next seminar in the series, entitled "What is Happening to American Democracy?" will be held on Nov. 18.

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