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Rutgers-Camden Law Professor says Congress has Authority to Protect Viability of Private Health Insurance
CAMDEN — While health care policy continues to be debated across the nation, a Rutgers–Camden law professor says Congress has the authority to ensure the viability of private health care insurance in the United States.
David M. Frankford, a professor at the Rutgers School of Law–Camden, is a widely published expert on health law and policy who has spent 28 years researching and teaching health care finance and regulation.
Much of the current debate on health care reform surrounds the Affordable Care Act, now under review by the U.S. Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of the law’s requirement of Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty.
Opponents of the act say Congress lacks authority to force people to buy a product, but Frankford challenges that notion.
“The idea that the federal government, that Congress, lacks authority to maintain the viability of a private insurance system is quite surprising,” says Frankford, of Wynnewood, Pa. “A private insurance system is commerce under the constitution. Without these sorts of reform, it will continue to spiral downward. It has been eroding now over the course of a number of decades, a trend that accelerated over the last ten years. Congress has authority to protect the continued viability of this commerce and it has the discretion to choose among reasonable means of doing so.”
Frankford says the Affordable Care Act, specifically the mandate to get individuals to buy insurance, is unprecedented in the United States, but contends it will actually affect few people.
“The insurance reform portions of the act coupled with various forms of subsidy to help people who can’t afford insurance are extremely conservative,” he says. “This is an extremely conservative reform to sure up a conservative system: the private health insurance system.”
He continues, “It’s rather mind-boggling to think that the Supreme Court could strike down a conservative reform proposal designed to ensure the continued viability of a conservative health insurance system.”
Frankford says now is a time of unprecedented change in how healthcare is organized, financed, and delivered. He is the co-author of the newly released Law and the American Health Care System, Second Edition (Foundation Press, 2012), which offers an in-depth exploration of how law and policy shape access to health care, health care financing, and quality of health care.
“It’s also a book that blends policy and legal doctrine together,” Frankford says. “It’s impossible to understand one without the other. For that reason, this book can be used in law schools, schools of public health and public policy departments, among other places. It teaches more about the sector than any other book. It also places our system in the context of other nations’ systems.”
Frankford also co-authored the supplement to the first edition of the book, Law and the American Health Care System, 2001-2002 Supplement (Foundation Press, 2002).
“In our writings, my colleagues and I have been strong proponents of universal health insurance and other reforms,” he says. “Of course the book provides substantial analysis of the Affordable Care Act, including the constitutional challenges.”
Frankford’s research has also focused on the interactions between health services, health care politics and policy, and the institutions of professions and professionalism.
Frankford’s writings include studies of hospital reimbursement, the regulation of fee splitting, the debates concerning privatization and national health insurance, the role of professionalism in medical education, and the role of scientism and economism in health policy. He is the faculty director at Camden of the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy.
Frankford earned his bachelor’s degree from Tufts University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago School of Law. He teaches courses and seminars on antitrust, bioethics, health care law, health care transactions, regulated industries and healthcare, and the professions and philosophy at the Rutgers School of Law–Camden.
Media Contact: Ed Moorhouse