NYTimes: BU prof writes letter to editor, gets to respond to critics

The digital tsunami is changing how we write letters to the editor. Stephen M. Davidson,   Boston University School of Management prof  and the author of “Still Broken: Understanding the U.S. Health Care System.” writes:

The new law may not be ideal, but it is a rational attempt to achieve important goals. It will not only reduce the number of uninsured and increase access in the short run, but also create conditions that facilitate the long-term process of reforming the delivery system. And, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates, it would produce savings over 10 years.       

Finally, not incidentally, it did pass Congress! The sad history of health care reform efforts means that starting over is not an option.       

Not only do the comment appear, so does his response. Way back when this process would stretch out over four issues of the paper.

While you’re on that page check out Steffie Woolhandler’s response to last week’s piece about the futility of small cuts to health care spending. Woolhandler, a noted single payer advocate and researcher, IDs herself tom  New York as an internist and a professor of public health at the City University of New York. Until recently she was Cambridge/Harvard based.

Ezekiel J. Emanuel lowballs estimates of the current costs and potential savings on medical bureaucracy, and raises vain hope that health reforms short of a single-payer system will realize substantial savings (“Billions Wasted on Billing,” Sunday Review, Nov. 13).       

Peer-reviewed studies in The New England Journal of Medicine by two colleagues and me document that administrative costs account for 31 percent of health spending in the United States versus 17 percent in Canada. The 14 percentage-point difference translates to $380 billion in potential savings in 2011. Other researchers have reached similar conclusions.       

Click here for archival BHN video  of Woolhandler.


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