Archive for Health Care

Hey, You Six Million!

How do you like him now?

As many as 6 million people will have to pay a penalty under ObamaCare for going without health insurance in 2014, federal officials suggested in projections released Wednesday.

That means between 2 percent and 4 percent of all taxpayers lacked medical coverage for all or part of the year and do not qualify for an exemption under the individual mandate, according to the Treasury Department.

Another 10 to 20 percent of taxpayers — or 15 million to 30 million people — were uninsured but will qualify for an exemption from the mandate, shielding them from paying $95 or 1 percent of household income when they file their taxes.

What did we just learn the other day? That ObamaCare will end up costing $2,000,000,000,000 and still leave almost 30,000,000 uninsured? (I just busted my 0 key.)

The best-case scenario described by the CBO would result in ‘between 24 million and 27 million’ fewer Americans being uninsured in 2025, compared to the year before the Affordable Care Act took effect.

Pulling that off will cost Uncle Sam about $1.35 trillion – or $50,000 per head.

The numbers are daunting: It will take $1.993 trillion, a number that looks like $1,993,000,000,000, to provide insurance subsidies to poor and middle-class Americans, and to pay for a massive expansion of Medicaid and CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) costs.

Offsetting that massive outlay will be $643 billion in new taxes, penalties and fees related to the Obamacare law.

So, all this wasn’t about controlling costs or covering the sick. It was about power. By that metric, it has been a raging success.

Who has the last laugh?

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CBO Releases Truly Terrible ObamaCare News When The Media Is Obsessing Over Snowstorm

ObamaCare will cost $50,000 per insured, and fewer people will be insured than prior to ObamaCare

They picked the perfect day to release this:

Obamacare program costs $50,000 in taxpayer money for every American who gets health insurance, says bombshell budget report
Stunning figure comes from Congressional Budget Office report that revised cost estimates for the next 10 years
Government will spend $1.993 TRILLION over a decade and take in $643 BILLION in new taxes, penalties and fees related to Obamacare
The $1.35 trillion net cost will result in ‘between 24 million and 27 million’ fewer Americans being uninsured – a $50,000 price tag per person at best
The law will still leave ‘between 29 million and 31 million’ nonelderly Americans without medical insurance
Numbers assume Obamacare insurance exchange enrollment will double between now and 2025

WE NEED SINGLE PAYER! Quick, somebody get ahold of Nancy Pelosi!!

It will cost the federal government – taxpayers, that is – $50,000 for every person who gets health insurance under the Obamacare law, the Congressional Budget Office revealed on Monday.
The number comes from figures buried in a 15-page section of the nonpartisan organization’s new ten-year budget outlook.
The best-case scenario described by the CBO would result in ‘between 24 million and 27 million’ fewer Americans being uninsured in 2025, compared to the year before the Affordable Care Act took effect.
Pulling that off will cost Uncle Sam about $1.35 trillion – or $50,000 per head.

How stupid, exactly, are Democrats? I think $1.35 trillion stupid is a rough estimate.

– Aggie

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Death Panels, UK-Style

I was among several acquaintances the other day when someone who was telling a story about a trip to the doctor concluded the tale with the sarcastic line “the wonders of for-profit health care”. I chimed in that if one thinks socialized medicine is better, just read up on Britain’s NHS. “It’s falling apart over there,” I concluded. The first guy challenged me: where did I get my information? Before I could finish saying the Daily Mail, he interrupted. “Terrible source!” he screamed. “The worst!” Maybe so. But the stories I read are personal accounts or drawn from official reports, not opinion pieces.

But omit any stories from the Daily Mail, and see if you still don’t agree with me.

I particularly like this one from the Telegraph (also a conservative paper, but so what?):

A test to determine if elderly patients will die within 30 days of being admitted to hospital has been developed by doctors to give them the chance to go home or say goodbye to loved ones.

Health experts say the checklist will prevent futile and expensive medical treatments which merely prolong suffering.

The screening test looks at 29 indicators of health, including age, frailty, illness, mental impairment, previous emergency admissions and heart rate and produces a percentage chance of death within one month and 12 weeks.

Researchers say the aim of Critera for Screening and Triaging to Appropriate aLternative care, or CriSTAL for short, is to kick-start frank discussions about end of life care, and minimise the risk of invasive ineffective treatment.

CriSTAL. From the Same people who brought you the rationaing body, NICE:

The NHS is to delay the introduction of a highly expensive drug that can save the lives of people infected with the hepatitis C virus. The move by NHS England is unprecedented, because the NHS rationing body, Nice (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) has approved the drug. Nice says sofosbuvir is cost-effective, because it is a cure for people who would otherwise run up huge NHS bills.

Back to CriSTAL:

Earlier this week Professor Sir Mike Richards, the Chief Inspector of Hospitals for the Care Quality Commission, warned that dying patients are receiving wide variations in care because of hospital failure to replace the Liverpool Care Pathway.

The controversial end-of-life plan was scrapped after a review of the regime found that hospital staff wrongly interpreted its guidance for care of the dying, leading to patients being drugged and deprived of fluids in their last weeks of life.

Most people I know, even old and infirm people, don’t want to be kept alive at any cost (personal or financial). But do we really want the government, with no higher appeal, making the last call? Especially with the history of the Liverpool protocol? And so much more evidence that NHS incompetence has led to thousands of deaths?

Don’t take my word for it. Google it yourself.

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PPACA

Out: Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

In: Patently Preposterous and Achingly Complex A**wipe

I think I was wrong about this thing: it’s comedic gold.

A controversy has erupted in Massachusetts over an obscure provision of the federal Affordable Care Act that small health insurers say will force them to write fat checks to support the state’s dominant insurer.

Hahahahaha!!!

“Fat checks”! Heeheeheehee!!

“Obscure provision”! Hhohohohoho!!! Oh my sides.

The law requires states to redistribute income among health insurers, so those whose members tend to be healthy will pay into a state-run pool, while insurers saddled with a high proportion of expensive, sick patients receive payment from the pool. The payments will be made for the first time this summer, based on 2014 data.

The Massachusetts Association of Health Plans contends that the state is using flawed data and bad methodology, threatening the futures of smaller insurers while shoring up the market’s behemoth, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts.

Blue Cross, which is not a member of the association, counters that the federal requirement is necessary to level the playing field in a market in which insurers can design their plans to attract the healthy while discouraging the sick from joining.

What do you expect from something designed by Jonathan Gruber? And peddled by Pajama Boy, Ethan Krupp?

But if you’re swayed by the journalist’s writing about “fat checks” to “behemoths”, read on:

Andreana Santangelo, Blue Cross senior vice president and chief actuary, said Blue Cross covers a disproportionate share of sicker, costlier patients, and thus expects to receive a payment to compensate. She noted that the company, with 2.1 million members in Massachusetts, is losing money despite its size.

The federal law prohibits insurers from rejecting or charging higher premiums to people who are sick, and Massachusetts law has done the same for many years.

But insurers can still manipulate the market by the way they craft benefits. For example, a plan can offer a narrow network of providers that would be unattractive to people who see many doctors, or it can exclude from its preferred drug list medications popular with people who have an expensive illness, such as diabetes. Such plans tend not to appeal to sicker patients.

The behemoth is actually doing the Lord’s work, while the insurance Davids to Blue Cross’s Goliath can pick and choose whomever they want.

But the most important thing is that they hate each other, thanks to government intrusion into the marketplace, and cry like squealing brats to Mommy that the other isn’t being fair. That’s Obama’s “signature achievement”, and I thank him for it.

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With a Friend Like Him, Who Needs an Enemy?

As part of his pandering to “the middle class”, Obama touted the “success” of his “health care” plan (odd, then, that it is administered by the IRS):

[I]n the past year alone, about 10 million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health coverage. (Applause.)

At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we’ve seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in 50 years. (Applause.) This is good news, people. (Laughter and applause.)

Lying sack of s**t (Laughter, applause, thunderous ovation, tears of joy, rending of garments):

At first glance, Colorado would seem to be one of the federal health law’s clearest success stories, offering nearly 200 plans and average premiums nearly unchanged in the coming year.

But zoom in closer, and it is clear that a kind of pricing pandemonium is underway, one that offers a case study of the ambitions and limits of the Affordable Care Act during this second year of enrollment.

An analysis by The New York Times shows, for example, that the cost of one midlevel silver plan in Colorado rose 36 percent west of the Rocky Mountains this year, while another dropped nearly 40 percent in the northeastern plains.

The wild disparity in prices results from many insurers trying to attract more customers by pricing plans as low as they can. But it is not at all clear that the low prices will be sustainable, so prices may well swing sharply upward as time goes on. Nationwide, some of the plans that offered the least expensive prices for 2014 raised premiums sharply for coverage this year. One insurer, CoOportunity Health, has been taken over by state regulators because of losses.

Shouldn’t that be called “predatory insuring”? Offering a deal to lure a customer in and then whack up the rates the next year when they can’t get out? Where’s Lizbeth Warren’s Consumer Protection Bureau?

And while she uses her advanced Native American tracking skills, maybe she can follow this trail:

When you apply for coverage on HealthCare.gov, dozens of data companies may be able to tell that you are on the site. Some can even glean details such as your age, income, ZIP code, whether you smoke or if you are pregnant.

The data firms have embedded connections on the government site. Ever-evolving technology allows for individual Internet users to be tracked, building profiles that are a vital tool for advertisers.

Connections to multiple third-party tech firms were documented by technology experts who analyzed HealthCare.gov, and confirmed by The Associated Press.

“As I look at vendors on a website…they could be another potential point of failure,” said corporate cybersecurity consultant Theresa Payton. “Vendor management can often be the weakest link in your privacy and security chain.”

Where’s the “health care” in an act that exposes your personal information, may bankrupt you, and is enforced by the T-men from the IRS? Not only can you not keep your doctor, you can’t keep your Social Security number!

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Liaress of the Jungle

This post pales in comparison to the two below, but it’s worth reporting:

The leader of the agency charged with the ObamaCare rollout is stepping down after five years on the job.

Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), announced her departure Friday, which will take effect next month.

Tavenner is leaving after five turbulent years overseeing the agency. Her tenure included the disastrous rollout of the government’s HealthCare.gov website as well as, most recently, an inflated tally of total ObamaCare enrollment.

Republicans on the House Oversight Committee last month grilled Tavenner about the miscount, which had helped push the first-year enrollment total for ObamaCare past 7 million — a milestone that was celebrated by the administration at the time.

Tavenner said some figures were “inadvertently” double-counted, an explanation that was greeted with deep skepticism from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), whose staff identified the error.

“Tavenner had to go,” Issa wrote Friday in a statement provided first to The Hill.

“She presided over HHS as it deceptively padded the Obamacare enrollment numbers. It was a deplorable example of an agency trying to scam the American people. They weren’t successful this time because of Congressional oversight. We deserve better.”

And then there’s this:

Tavenner’s chief of staff, Aryana Khalid, also announced Friday that she would be leaving the agency.

The pair of departures come about a month after that of CMS’s deputy administrator, Cindy Mann. The agency’s No. 2 official left her post in January.

Maybe it doesn’t matter that no one’s left to run the damn program. As we’ve been noting, it’s in the hands of the IRS now.

As for the deception and the scam, it’s all part of the Obama strategy: lie all the time; they can’t catch you in all of them.

PS: The same IRS that empowered Lois Lerner, remember.

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Synergy

A socialized-medicine-global-warming-nonsense story all in one!

NHS staff have been coming into work voluntarily and unpaid to help their hospitals cope with extreme winter pressures, MPs were told today, as the country’s top emergency doctor warned over a dramatic increase in A&E visits.

Dr Clifford Mann, president of the College of Emergency Medicine, said that the additional patients coming to A&E this year could fill “eight or nine extra emergency departments”. MPs on the Health Select Committee were taking evidence yesterday on accident and emergency services in England, in response to a string of major incidents declared at hospitals throughout the country last week, as A&E waiting times rose to their highest levels in a decade.

Winter happens every year, and they were unprepared? Either winter is colder, or the NHS had its head up its ass. Still, typical British grit for the staff to work without pay.

This is a more typical NHS story:

The head of a special NHS fund for cancer medicines in England has said there will need to be further cuts to the treatments it funds.

This week it was announced 25 different cancer treatments would no longer be paid for by the Cancer Drugs Fund.

But Prof Peter Clark, an oncologist who runs the fund, said the rising cost of drugs was a problem.

He added that the system for chemotherapy drugs was “broken”.

This is also typical:

Sitting in the casualty department of one of the best-known hospitals in Britain, I can’t help but notice it’s packed to the rafters.

Yet it’s not a hectic Saturday night, but a Monday lunchtime at the beginning of December and everyone seems sober.

Despite this, I struggle to find a seat, even though it is obvious I’m in deep shock and on the point of passing out in agony. This is by far the worst pain I’ve ever suffered.

I know my upper arm is broken — I fell off a step and heard the crack — and fully expect at least a four-hour wait.

A woman having a cigarette outside warned me as I arrived: ‘Hope you’ve set aside the whole day. I’ve been waiting ages!’

As I look around the crowd, I see little evidence of painful injury. I ask the woman next to me what she’s come for — a headache, no less. ‘No point calling the GP. You can never get seen,’ she says.

It’s the same story with the worried-looking father a few rows back. With a feverish young son lying listlessly on his lap, he explains he came straight to the hospital. He didn’t even think to start with his GP.

It’s clear evidence that casualty is becoming the first port of call whether it’s an accident, emergency or just feeling a bit poorly. No wonder the staff at the Royal Free Hospital in North London look so strained.

Her broken arm put her at the top of the waiting list. (Don’t know how long the dad waited with his kid.) But her travails were only beginning:

The consultant recommended surgery.

I was to be admitted on the Wednesday evening and was told to get my necessary blood tests done in advance. And that’s when the trouble started. The blood test queue filled a large waiting room and stretched, snake-like, along the corridor.

My number was 365 — and 210 had just been called. It was two-and-a half hours before they got to me. Just as well I’d set the whole day aside.

Wednesday came and I still had no information about when and where, or indeed if, I should turn up that evening.

I called admissions. They hadn’t a clue. I emailed the surgeon’s secretary, and at 5pm I finally had a call. I was to arrive at the orthopaedic ward around 7.30pm. They’d finally found me a bed.

I’ll leave it to you to get the rest of the story. Suffice it to say, in medicine as in so much else, you get what you pay for.

And another kick in the teeth for global warming:

The prospects of a January thaw are dropping right off the map. Even the chances that the U.S. East Coast will hold on to some above-normal temperatures into the last week of the month are fading like cheap paint in the bright sun.

Instead of displaying the gold and orange of milder weather, the maps have turned blue across the Midwest, which may be the same color your lips will be when the temperature drops. For the East, the outlook is for seasonal readings, and given that it’s January, you can color those cold, too.

“The big story this week is that our expected January thaw next week has been obliterated, and that the models keep getting colder and colder in general, starting next week through the end of January,” said Todd Crawford, a meteorologist with WSI in Andover, Massachusetts.

One more on one of my favorite subjects:

January’s shivering start has led to a rapid expansion of ice cover on the Great Lakes during the first half of January.

Combined, 34.2 percent of the five Great Lakes are covered in ice as of Jan. 14, 2015, according to data from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. This is up from just 5.65 percent on New Year’s Day.

Last year, the Great Lakes were 21.2 percent ice-covered on Jan. 14, making this year’s ice cover 13 percent higher to date.

That’s it, you’re free to go!

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Death by ObamaCare

I don’t know about you, Aggie, but these stories of average, everyday Americans getting totally shafted by ObamaCare never get old. They’re like potato chips—you can’t have just one!

Obamacare provided billions in seed money to help establish insurance companies called co-ops. One of the biggest has now gone under, and its state overseer is telling clients to switch carriers.

It was a heck of a Christmas for David Fairchild and his wife, Clara Peterson. They found out they were about to lose their new health insurance.

“Clara was listening to the news on Iowa Public Radio and that’s how we found out,” Fairchild says. They went to their health plan’s website that night. “No information. We still haven’t gotten a letter about it from them.”

The two are the sole employees of a cleaning service and work nights. Fairchild has chronic leukemia but treats it with expensive medicine. Last year they saved hundreds of dollars switching from the insurer Wellmark to a plan run by CoOportunity Health. For the first time in a long time, Fairchild says, they felt like they had room to breathe.

“Basically it covered our office visits; covered exams,” he says. It covered all but $40 of the medicine every four weeks. It was just marvelous. It probably was too good to be true.”

It was for them. CoOportunity Health has failed. The Affordable Care Act set aside funding for health care co-ops, to enable the organizations to compete in places where there aren’t many insurers. CoOportunity Health was the second largest co-op in the country in terms of membership, and one of the largest in terms of the federal funding it received.

But then CoOportunity hit a kind of perfect storm, says Peter Damiano, director of the University of Iowa’s public policy center. First, the co-op had to pay a lot more medical bills than those in charge expected.

“CoOportunity Health’s pool of people was larger than expected, was sicker than expected, Damiano says. “So their risk became much greater than the funds that were available,”

But wait—isn’t that a success story? I thought covering sick people was how we measured progress under ObamaCare. Forget the costs, dismiss the collateral damage, we’ve hurt and inconvenienced hundreds of millions for the spurious benefit of perhaps ten million.

But back to the poor saps in the story:

But the co-op’s failure in Iowa has left David Fairchild and Clara Peterson scratching their heads.

“I mean the whole Affordable Care Act is [about] competition between insurance companies, and now we’re back down to what?” says Peterson.

For them, only one option: Coventry. They’ve already applied through healthcare.gov and now they’re now waiting for approval for a plan that will cost a lot more.

It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.

PS: In the meantime, Hawkeye-Staters, starve a cold, feed a fever. Or is it the other way around? Just wash your hands a lot. And wear a mask.

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American Hero

Someone who read the bill.

“Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.”

And with the debate just getting underway, author Steven Brill, who has spent the past two years immersing himself in the subject, has come out with a new book, “America’s Bitter Pill,” that takes a comprehensive look at what the new law does and doesn’t do. Brill argues that Obamacare is the product of what he calls an “orgy of lobbying” and backroom deals in which just about everyone with a stake in the $3-trillion-a-year health industry came out ahead – except the taxpayers.

Steven Brill: Good news: More people are gonna get health care. Bad news: We have no way in the world that we’re gonna be able to pay for it.

Steven Brill says that the outrage is what the Affordable Care Act doesn’t do.

Steven Brill: It doesn’t do anything on medical malpractice reform. It doesn’t do anything to control drug prices. It doesn’t do anything to control hospital profits.

Lesley Stahl: So all the cost controlling side of this just went by the wayside?

Steven Brill: 99 percent of it.

Steven Brill: If you go after costs, you’re never going to get anything passed because the lobbyists will just not allow it to be passed.

But I thought lobbyists had no place in this administration. With only 65 exceptions:

There are, according to Post analysis of data from the Center for Responsive Politics, 65 current members of the Obama administration who at one point lobbied the federal government. Combined, they worked for over 500 years for firms that lobby the government — compared to the little over 320 years they have spent with the Obama administration.

If you do the math, the 65 lobbyists working for Obama have been doing so for an average of five years each. Which is nearly the entire duration of his administration at the time this article was published (August 2014). The lie was essentially a lie as he was saying it.

Which comes as no surprise, I’m sure.

None of this does. Jon Gruber already told us what a sham this was. And even he told us only what we already knew, what many had been saying (and we had been repeating) for years.

At least it finally made 60 Minutes. Mr. and Mrs. Low Information Voter might now have a clue why they’re so scrrewed.

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Dying for One’s Art

Nothing will match the piping hot schadenfreude we enjoy at the affected outrage (“I say!”) of the Harvard professors, the crimson crackpots, faced with the reality of the ObamaCare they supported—still support—now that it’s taking a bite out of their spotty white behinds. (Can you tell how much we enjoy it?)

But this runs a close second:

Many in New York’s professional and cultural elite have long supported President Obama’s health care plan. But now, to their surprise, thousands of writers, opera singers, music teachers, photographers, doctors, lawyers and others are learning that their health insurance plans are being canceled and they may have to pay more to get comparable coverage, if they can find it.

They are part of an unusual, informal health insurance system that has developed in New York, in which independent practitioners were able to get lower insurance rates through group plans, typically set up by their professional associations or chambers of commerce. That allowed them to avoid the sky-high rates in New York’s individual insurance market, historically among the most expensive in the country.

But under the Affordable Care Act, they will be treated as individuals, responsible for their own insurance policies. For many of them, that is likely to mean they will no longer have access to a wide network of doctors and a range of plans tailored to their needs. And many of them are finding that if they want to keep their premiums from rising, they will have to accept higher deductible and co-pay costs or inferior coverage.

Wait, what?

We see it as an entrepreneurial bill, a bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care.

That was Nancy Pelosi almost five years ago. The Speaker of the House promised—she promised!—that you could sing Traviata and still have that bunion on your big toe looked at. But now, the “cultural elite” find “to their surprise” that she’s as much a liar as the Messiah is.

I’ve already written about karma this morning (see below), and I’m becoming a big fan.

It is an uncomfortable position for many members of the creative classes to be in.

“We are the Obama people,” said Camille Sweeney, a New York writer and member of the Authors Guild. Her insurance is being canceled, and she is dismayed that neither her pediatrician nor her general practitioner appears to be on the exchange plans. What to do has become a hot topic on Facebook and at dinner parties frequented by her fellow writers and artists.

“I’m for it,” she said. “But what is the reality of it?”

The Buddha couldn’t have said it better himself.

PS: Oh, to have been a fly on the wall of those “dinner parties”! However did they digest their quinoa?

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The Doctor Will See You

In four hours, guaranteed. Almost guaranteed. Bet on it. But not too much.

The NHS in England has missed its four-hour A&E waiting time target with performance dropping to its lowest level for a decade, figures show.

From October to December 92.6% of patients were seen in four hours – below the 95% target.

The performance is the worst quarterly result since the target was introduced at the end of 2004.

The target used to be 98%. Just to see you. Not treat you or admit you or whatever. Just to see you. In four hours. And they still fail that one out of ten times.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted meeting the A&E standard was proving tough, but pointed out that England has some of the toughest targets in the world.

“Targets matter but not at any cost. The priority is to treat people with dignity and respect.”

Like sitting in some godforsaken NHS waiting room for longer than a Godfather marathon. Keep your dignity and respect. I’ll take a doctor.

I looked up America’s numbers by way of comparison. We don’t use the four-hour mark as a benchmark. We list by average time it takes to be seen, and these numbers are for 2013. Several states were under 20 minutes; the national average was 26 minutes. There could be the odd four-hour patient in there somewhere, but not many. Not yet. I feel our future is more likely to be Britain’s than it is to be our past’s.

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Harvard Faculty Upset With Increases In Health Care Cost Due To ObamaCare

This is so much fun

WASHINGTON — For years, Harvard’s experts on health economics and policy have advised presidents and Congress on how to provide health benefits to the nation at a reasonable cost. But those remedies will now be applied to the Harvard faculty, and the professors are in an uproar.

Members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the heart of the 378-year-old university, voted overwhelmingly in November to oppose changes that would require them and thousands of other Harvard employees to pay more for health care. The university says the increases are in part a result of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, which many Harvard professors championed.

The faculty vote came too late to stop the cost increases from taking effect this month, and the anger on campus remains focused on questions that are agitating many workplaces: How should the burden of health costs be shared by employers and employees? If employees have to bear more of the cost, will they skimp on medically necessary care, curtail the use of less valuable services, or both?

“Harvard is a microcosm of what’s happening in health care in the country,” said David M. Cutler, a health economist at the university who was an adviser to President Obama’s 2008 campaign. But only up to a point: Professors at Harvard have until now generally avoided the higher expenses that other employers have been passing on to employees. That makes the outrage among the faculty remarkable, Mr. Cutler said, because “Harvard was and remains a very generous employer.”

In Harvard’s health care enrollment guide for 2015, the university said it “must respond to the national trend of rising health care costs, including some driven by health care reform,” in the form of the Affordable Care Act. The guide said that Harvard faced “added costs” because of provisions in the health care law that extend coverage for children up to age 26, offer free preventive services like mammograms and colonoscopies and, starting in 2018, add a tax on high-cost insurance, known as the Cadillac tax.

Richard F. Thomas, a Harvard professor of classics and one of the world’s leading authorities on Virgil, called the changes “deplorable, deeply regressive, a sign of the corporatization of the university.”

Mary D. Lewis, a professor who specializes in the history of modern France and has led opposition to the benefit changes, said they were tantamount to a pay cut. “Moreover,” she said, “this pay cut will be timed to come at precisely the moment when you are sick, stressed or facing the challenges of being a new parent.”

The university is adopting standard features of most employer-sponsored health plans: Employees will now pay deductibles and a share of the costs, known as coinsurance, for hospitalization, surgery and certain advanced diagnostic tests. The plan has an annual deductible of $250 per individual and $750 for a family. For a doctor’s office visit, the charge is $20. For most other services, patients will pay 10 percent of the cost until they reach the out-of-pocket limit of $1,500 for an individual and $4,500 for a family.

Previously, Harvard employees paid a portion of insurance premiums and had low out-of-pocket costs when they received care.

Michael E. Chernew, a health economist and the chairman of the university benefits committee, which recommended the new approach, acknowledged that “with these changes, employees will often pay more for care at the point of service.” In part, he said, “that is intended because patient cost-sharing is proven to reduce overall spending.”

The president of Harvard, Drew Gilpin Faust, acknowledged in a letter to the faculty that the changes in health benefits — though based on recommendations from some of the university’s own health policy experts — were “causing distress” and had “generated anxiety” on campus. But she said the changes were necessary because Harvard’s health benefit costs were growing faster than operating revenues or staff salaries and were threatening the budget for other priorities like teaching, research and student aid.

In response, Harvard professors, including mathematicians and microeconomists, have dissected the university’s data and question whether its health costs have been growing as fast as the university says. Some created spreadsheets and contended that the university’s arguments about the growth of employee health costs were misleading. In recent years, national health spending has been growing at an exceptionally slow rate.

In addition, some ideas that looked good to academia in theory are now causing consternation. In 2009, while Congress was considering the health care legislation, Dr. Alan M. Garber — then a Stanford professor and now the provost of Harvard — led a group of economists who sent an open letter to Mr. Obama endorsing cost-control features of the bill. They praised the Cadillac tax as a way to rein in health costs and premiums.

Dr. Garber, a physician and health economist, has been at the center of the current Harvard debate. He approved the changes in benefits, which were recommended by a committee that included university administrators and experts on health policy.

In an interview, Dr. Garber acknowledged that Harvard employees would face greater cost-sharing, but he defended the changes. “Cost-sharing, if done appropriately, can slow the growth of health spending,” he said. “We need to be prepared for the very real possibility that health expenditure growth will take off again.”

But Jerry R. Green, a professor of economics and a former provost who has been on the Harvard faculty for more than four decades, said the new out-of-pocket costs could lead people to defer medical care or diagnostic tests, causing more serious illnesses and costly complications in the future.

“It’s equivalent to taxing the sick,” Professor Green said. “I don’t think there’s any government in the world that would tax the sick.”

Meredith B. Rosenthal, a professor of health economics and policy at the Harvard School of Public Health, said she was puzzled by the outcry. “The changes in Harvard faculty benefits are parallel to changes that all Americans are seeing,” she said. “Indeed, they have come to our front door much later than to others.”

But in her view, there are drawbacks to the Harvard plan and others like it that require consumers to pay a share of health care costs at the time of service. “Consumer cost-sharing is a blunt instrument,” Professor Rosenthal said. “It will save money, but we have strong evidence that when faced with high out-of-pocket costs, consumers make choices that do not appear to be in their best interests in terms of health.”

Harvard’s new plan is far more generous than plans sold on public insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. Harvard says its plan pays 91 percent of the cost of services for the covered population, while the most popular plans on the exchanges, known as silver plans, pay 70 percent, on average, reflecting their “actuarial value.”

“None of us who protested was motivated by our own bottom line so much as by the principle,” Ms. Lewis said, expressing concern about the impact of the changes on lower-paid employees.

In many states, consumers have complained about health plans that limit their choice of doctors and hospitals. Some Harvard employees have said they will gladly accept a narrower network of health care providers if it lowers their costs. But Harvard’s ability to create such networks is complicated by the fact that some of Boston’s best-known, most expensive hospitals are affiliated with Harvard Medical School. To create a network of high-value providers, Harvard would probably need to exclude some of its own teaching hospitals, or discourage their use.

“Harvard employees want access to everything,” said Dr. Barbara J. McNeil, the head of the health care policy department at Harvard Medical School and a member of the benefits committee. “They don’t want to be restricted in what institutions they can get care from.”

Although out-of-pocket costs over all for a typical Harvard employee are to increase in 2015, administrators said premiums would decline slightly. They noted that the university, which has an endowment valued at more than $36 billion, had an unusual program to provide protection against high out-of-pocket costs for employees earning $95,000 a year or less. Still, professors said the protections did not offset the new financial burdens that would fall on junior faculty and lower-paid staff members.

“It seems that Harvard is trying to save money by shifting costs to sick people,” said Mary C. Waters, a professor of sociology. “I don’t understand why a university with Harvard’s incredible resources would do this. What is the crisis?”

Wasn’t that fun?

– Aggie

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