Here's the skinny:
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 thehealth 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.
Per the rest of the story, this isn't really anything unreasonable:
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.
I mean, I don't know about you, but, if it didn't cost me an arm and a leg on my share of monthly premiums, I'd be killing people to have an insurance plan with an annual of just $250, let alone the other stuff.
And, that's here in low-cost Texas.
At Cambridge? I'd be killing people, burying them, digging them back up and re-killing them.
And, if it really leads that many people at Harvard to defer that many medical procedures, as some of the boo-hooers are claiming?
That's the story line from some:
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.”
Puhleeeeze on the rhetoric.
Getting past that "taxing the sick" line, there is a real rhetorical question lurking, though:
Does that mean that income inequality is a problem at Harvard?
One Harvard prof claims that's the case, on the surface:
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. …
"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.
Well, Prof. Lewis, you need to talk to President Gilpin about that income inequality, then.
Besides, the university says it has an insurance subsidy program for lower-income people.
Which, at Harvard, is anybody making less than $95K. No, really:
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.
So, Jerry Green and Mary Lewis? Put a sock in it.
See, it's things like this, or the fact that no yellow school bus from Boston ever rolled up to Hyannisport, or that white Western liberal environmentalists defend defacing indigenous history in Peru that gives liberalism a bad name at times among poor whites, or minorities.
Ooh, what's that I hear? Could it be the sound of an ox being gored in Harvard Yard?