09/07/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ex-Medicare Chief Criticizes Obama, McCain Health Care Plans

By J.C. O'Connell

In order to make health care affordable, the system needs more efficiency — not just more cash or tax credits, Mark McClellan, former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told a crowd of more than 200 statisticians on Monday in Colorado.

McClellan, a former associate professor of economics at Stanford University who has studied health care costs, was the keynote speaker for the five-day Joint Statistical Meetings conference. The annual conference, which attracted more than 5,000 statisticians in a variety of fields from across the country to the Colorado Convention Center, was organized by the American Statistical Association.

Neither presidential candidate’s proposed health care reform will pay for itself, but the real long-term solution to making health care more affordable is to make the system more efficient, a goal shared by both presidential candidates, said McClellan, brother of former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

McClellan envisions an “electronic infrastructure,” built by private-public partnerships, that could collect data and make it available for analysis about which treatments are most effective for which patients.

“I think we’re headed for a new era of health care reform, one in which health care coverage reform is no longer separated from health care delivery reform,” he said.

Democratic Sen. Barack Obama’s plan to roll back tax cuts to the country’s wealthiest Americans and instead use the money to expand health care will save only about $50 billion a year, McClellan said, and won’t cover the rising price of health care for uninsured and under-insured Americans.

The cost of health care rose 6.7 percent in 2006 to $2.1 trillion and continues to increase, according to the American Medical Association.

Republican Sen. John McCain hasn’t proposed any significant health care spending but has proposed putting a cap on employer health care spending and using the additional revenue to pay for a health care tax credit for those residents who don’t get health insurance through their jobs, which still wouldn’t cover the rising cost of health care, said McClellan.

Read the rest of the article at the Colorado Independent.