hide captionInsurance plans that only cover catastrophic costs don’t pencil out for most people, an architect of the Affordable Care Act says.
As a special adviser on health policy to the While House from 2009 to 2011, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel was deeply involved in the creation of the Affordable Care Act. So it’s no surprise that in his new book, Reinventing American Health Care, Emanuel defends the law.
But he also makes some surprising predictions about where health care is going in the next decade and beyond, including forecasting the death of health insurance companies as we know them.
And Emanuel offers up health-care trivia, including the fact that compulsory health insurance dates back to 1790, when ship owners had to buy medical insurance for their seamen. Who knew?
We talked with Emanuel, now a professor of medical ethics and health policy at the University of Pennsylvania, about the future of health care. This is an edited and condensed version of that conversation.
Your book offers a strong defense of the Affordable Care Act. Do you think you’ll change any minds?
I hope I put it in context. I’m not an unalloyed advocate of the Affordable Care Act. I recognize and say explicitly in the book that it’s not a perfect law. But the health care system was broken in 2009, and everyone agreed we needed to do something and reform was essential. This is certainly a step in the right direction across all relevant domains: access, cost, quality and prevention. I have lots of criticisms, and I point them out in book. But staying with what we had was untenable.
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