Frequent critic of the U.S. healthcare system.
Famed health economist Uwe Reinhardt, PhD, has died, according to media reports.
Reinhardt, 80, was a professor of political economy at Princeton, specializing in healthcare spending, hospital prices, and comparative health systems. He was a regular contributor to major medical and health policy journals, including JAMA and the New England Journal of Medicine as well as Health Affairs
Reinhardt was born in Germany but emigrated to Canada and received a Bachelor’s degree in commerce from the University of Saskatchewan; he was awarded a PhD in economics from Yale University in 1970 and began teaching at Princeton that same year. His doctoral dissertation, which discussed the economics of physician practices, included a list of acknowledgements featuring Reinhardt’s typical wry humor: “One of the inevitable byproducts of a dissertation is that the author’s friends are drawn into the topic far more deeply than they might wish. Among my friends who suffered this fate are … ”
He also was a frequent critic of the American healthcare system, once observing that “If you want to guarantee access to care, always wear Gucci loafers. No ER turns away someone wearing Gucci loafers.” Reinhardt told Modern Healthcare in 2016 that Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) proposal for a Medicare-for-all single-payer system would be “dead on arrival in Congress” because “[p]olitically, you cannot legislate what rationally makes perfect sense.”
Reinhardt served on the Physician Payment Review Commission (a precursor to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission) and was a member of what is now the National Academy of Medicine. He was also a member of the Kaiser Family Foundation Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and a past president of the Association of Health Services Research.
Reinhardt was married to Tsung-mei (May) Cheng, a health policy researcher and co-founder of the annual Princeton Conference on health policy; they had three children.