Harvard professor talks healthcare, politics
Health care was the subject of discussion Thursday evening as Harvard University professor Daniel Carpenter stood in the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion to discuss everything from the future of the industry to how politics shape it.
Health care, Carpenter said, has become a market where price, competition and the consumer matters. Regulation has had to co-evolve with the markets.
Carpenter is also the winner of the 2011 Herbert Simon Award of the Midwest Political Science Association for his contributions as a lead scholar.
“I want people to re-think about what is regulation in the markets. It is not only social welfare,” Carpenter said.
Trust has become a large issue among consumers and physicians, including trust in the Food and Drug Administration. The Drug Efficacy Study Implementation was the first systematic attempt to withdraw drugs on the basis of efficacy alone. By using DESI to take certain drugs off the shelves, the FDA saved 42,000 to 148,000 lives.
“The primary benefit of approval regulation is confidence, not safety,” Carpenter said.
Carpenter foresees the use of mobile applications to monitor a patient’s health. These mobile applications will be able to communicate to a doctor regarding any abnormalities in the patient’s health. In order for mobile health to become a standard, regulation will be needed to ensure the public of the efficiency of these mobile applications.
“Just like our friend Flo from Progressive offers a chart with different options, we will need to provide the same for those shopping for effective products,” Carpenter said.
As regulation co-evolves with the markets, Carpenter stressed the importance of focusing on prices for drugs, medical devices and health care. With the Affordable Care Act establishing a marketplace for health insurance, many are concerned with the costs it entails.
“I think prices have been the problem, not disclosure,” said Ramiro Martinez, director of employee benefits for Robinson Benefits.
During the lecture, Department of Political Science Chair Susan Scarrow presented the John P. McGovern Award Medal to Carpenter for his accomplishments and involvement with digital humanities.
Carpenter’s research has influenced not only the health care industry, but students as well.
“We have so many young students interested in learning more about his research topic. I think this lecture will have an impact on them, especially those who are thinking about their future career choices or opportunities,” said assistant professor of political science Ling Zhu.