Yesterday afternoon, a group of prominent economists - including two from Stanford's medical school - delivered a letter to President Obama on health reform and the importance of keeping health care costs under control. The letter, which appears on the New York Times' Economix, outlines four elements of the current legislation that the experts deem critical: "(1) deficit neutrality, (2) an excise tax on high-cost insurance plans, (3) an independent Medicare commission, and (4) delivery system reforms." The economists explained:
Including these four elements in the reform legislation - as the Senate Finance Committee bill does and as we hope the bill brought to the Senate floor will do - will reduce long-term deficits, improve the quality of care, and put the nation on a firm fiscal footing. It will help transform the health care system from delivering too much care, to a system that consistently delivers higher-quality, high-value care.
The letter was sent by Alan Garber, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research and the Center for Health Policy, on behalf of 22 colleagues. Among the signatories is Stanford health economist Victor Fuchs, PhD.