Ideas have Consequences

There is a delightful piece in the New York Times on the reaction of the Harvard faculty to the reality of health care reform:

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 article makes clear that many faculty members assumed that Harvard’s $36 billion endowment would shelter them from the costs imposed by the health care reforms. Now that this assumption has proven to be false, there is something of an uproar.

Yes, indeed, ideas have consequences and they can prove costly.

5 thoughts on “Ideas have Consequences

  1. That’s priceless. I love how the classics professor said that it’s “deplorable” that he should have to pay more for rising health care costs; obviously it was supposed to be other, little people who were supposed to pay more–not Harvard professors. And he claimed that the increases are a result of the “corporatization of the university.” Right. Because, again obviously, it’s only an artificial construction of the business world that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

  2. This is likely to be heard more and more. In describing my company’s health care options, the highest cost plan, which pretty much matches the health coverage I had from the 1980s through late 2000s, and appears to have been fairly standard among employers, is now a “Cadillac” plan. Somewhat (I’d guess) enabled by the creation of high deductible health insurance under President Bush, the health insurance norm today expects people to pay several thousand dollars in addition to the premium before claims are paid, though they do benefit from the insurance company chopping the doctor’s “cash” price down by 20-90% to the negotiated insurance rate.

  3. I’ll add (after looking at the Times article and the Harvard Benefits Guide) that Harvard’s new standard plans are better than my employer’s soon to be “Cadillac” plan and their high deductible plan is still better than I see in the private sector.

    Of course, between the university and Massachusetts, the world is different. A comment in the (in)famous Jonathan Gruber talks which nobody picked up on, was roughly “as is true today, it will take 3 weeks to see your primary care physician”. I’ve never waited more than 1 day to see my doctor (or perhaps an associate). I’ve rarely waited more than 1-2 weeks to see a specialist. If 3 weeks to see any doctor is the new health care norm we’ll see a lot more complaints.

  4. Typical Mercedes Marxists. If these “soft sciences” professors had to compete in a free market college environment,with no government aid,loans or involvement,including tax deductions for contributors to their endowment funds they would probably starve to death. Its easy to be a hypocrite when your pulling down six figure incomes. Elizabeth Warren,who wants to tell us how to run our lives,when at Harvard had a salary of $10,000.00 per week. Not bad,especially when she pontificates class warfare about “greedy” business owners not “earning” what they created. Pure chutzpah.

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