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Health Law Director Grades Health Care Reforms

October 13, 2010

Recently enacted reforms will make health care accessible to more people but may do little to control costs, Professor Barry Furrow said during a presentation sponsored by the Drexel American Constitution Society on Oct. 13.

Given political opposition to a universal health-care system, President Obama crafted reforms that slash the number of uninsured by 32 million people but rely on regulatory “nudges” whose effectiveness remains to be seen, Furrow said.

“It’s an extreme example of congressional delegation of rulemaking to federal agencies,” Furrow said. "Is it compromised, convoluted reform? Sure it is. Welcome to the United States.”

The director of the law school’s Health Law Program, Furrow is the lead author of “Health Law — Cases, Materials and Problems,” which remains the leading casebook in the field. He is an authority on issues from medical malpractice to patient privacy and legal aspects of pain management.

Increased access to health care represents a significant benefit, Furrow said, noting that insurance has been out of reach for large and growing segments of the population.

Despite the potential costs and other unknowns associated with the reforms, he said, “it’s a vast improvement.”