Uwe E. Reinhardt is a professor of political economy at Princeton University and holds several positions in the healthcare industry. Reinhardt is a prominent scholar in health care economics and a frequent speaker and author on subjects ranging from the war in Iraq to the future of Medicare.
Reinhardt was born in Osnabr ck, Germany and later emigrated to Canada where he received his Bachelor of Commerce degree from University of Saskatchewan. He later received a PhD in economics from Yale University. He has taught courses in economic theory and policy, accounting, and health economics and policy. Reinhardt's scholarly work has focused on economics and policy and includes more far-reaching topics such as cost-benefit analyses of the Lockheed L-1011 Tri Star and the Space Shuttle.
Reinhardt's most recent research has focused on hospital pricing, systems of health care around the world, Medicare reform, and health care spending. His work has appeared in Health Affairs, The New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, and The British Medical Journal.
In a recent paper, Reinhardt discusses the obstacles to success of consumer-directed health care in light of the lack of transparency in hospital pricing. Reinhardt suggests several reforms that could lead to better information on hospital pricing for consumer decision-making, including a national set of Diagnosis-related group weights to which each hospital could then apply their own conversion factor. Reinhardt's previous work on hospitals examined the tax and cost of equity capital advantages of not-for-profit hospitals over for-profit hospitals.
Reinhardt's scholarship has often analyzed the U.S. health care industry in relation to systems around the world. He has argued that higher U.S. health spending is a result of higher U.S. per capita gross domestic product (GDP) as well as intricate and disjointed payment systems. Reinhardt's work on foreign systems of health care includes a recent analysis of Switzerland that appeared in JAMA. Reinhardt argues that there is little correlation between the prevalence of consumer choice and the high quality of Swiss health care.
In 2003, Reinhardt, along with 14 other prominent health policy experts and private health care industry leaders, signed an open letter arguing that Medicare should lead the U.S. health care industry in paying for performance by tying financial reimbursement to quality measures.
Reinhardt's work on health care spending includes his argument that the aging of the U.S. population is not the primary cause of the growth in U.S. health care spending.
Private Industry and Advisory Roles
In addition to his university duties, Reinhardt has been active as an advisor for government, non-profit organizations, and private industry and has held directorships in various for-profit companies in the health industry . In 1978, Professor Reinhardt was elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, on whose Governing Council he served until 1982. At the Institute, he has served on a number of study panels, including, the Committee on the Implications of For-Profit Medicine, the Committee on Technical Innovation in Medicine, the Committee on the Implications of a Physicians Surplus, and the Committee on the U.S. Physician Supply. In 1996, he was appointed to the Board of Health Care services of the Institute.
From 1986-1995, Reinhardt served three consecutive three-year terms as a Commissioner on the Physician Payment Review Commission (PPRC), established in 1986 by the Congress to advise it on issues related to the payment of physicians. Reinhardt serves as a Commissioner for the Kaiser Family Foundation Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. Reinhardt was or is a member of numerous editorial boards, among them The New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, The Journal of Health Economics, the Milbank Quarterly, and Health Affairs.
Currently, Reinhardt serves as a trustee of Duke University and the Hambrecht and Quist Investors and Life Sciences Investor Funds. He also serves on the Boards of Directors of, and has financial interests in, Boston Scientific Corporation, a leading maker of medical devices, and Amerigroup Corporation, a large health insurer whose clients consist primarily of persons enrolled in Medicare. Reinhardt has also previously served on the Board of Directors of Triad Hospitals, Inc, until that company was merged into Community Health Systems in 2007. Reinhardt is also a regular contributor to the New York Times Economix blog where he writes about economic matters, particularly the economics of health care.
In the 2009 Frontline show "Sick in America", Reinhardt criticized the United States for spending 24% of every health care dollar on administration, and pointed out that Canada spends less than half of the U.S. amount and Taiwan spends significantly less than Canada. Reinhardt faulted the seeming U.S. preference for an unwieldy "mishmash of private insurance plans" for the inefficiency. He said if the U.S. could spend half as much on administration, it would save more than enough money to cover all the uninsured.