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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Karen Weintraub, Deputy Health and Science Editor, and Gideon Gil, Health and Science Editor.
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Friday, June 1, 2007
Harvard's Herzlinger a 'healthcare heretic'
Harvard Business School professor Regina Herzlinger (left) is trying to transform America's health-care system through her advocacy of consumer choice, an article in The Economist headlined 'health-care heretic' says.
Calling her America's leading advocate of market-driven, consumer-orientated health reform, the article quotes Ray Gilmartin, a former chairman of drug giant Merck, on her efforts in the 1980s: "She argued for a greater role for competition and choice when market forces and productivity were foreign concepts in this sector."
In the 1990s, when managed care was all the rage, the story says, she predicted correctly that such a cost-obsessed approach would alienate consumers while it failed to rein in cost inflation ("I said, ‘this fish stinks’," she recalls in the article).
Today, "the US health-care system is in the midst of a ferocious war. Four armies are battling to gain control: the health insurers, hospitals, government and doctors," the article quotes from her new book, "Who Killed Health Care?"
Then she moves in for the kill, the story continues: "Yet you and I, the people who use the health system and who pay for all of it, are not even combatants."