Your article on Paul Ellwood Jr., M.D., ("Health Care Hall of Fame 2000," Feb. 14, p. 29) laid the blame for the failure of "managed competition" at the feet of the Clinton administration. But it wasn't the Clinton crowd that paid for the insipid Harry and Louise ads. Nor were they the ones who commandeered the media to orchestrate the demise of healthcare reform. That would have been the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Health Insurance Association of America and other constituents of the healthcare establishment.
Although Ellwood is certainly deserving of his ascension to the Health Care Hall of Fame, let us not be too quick to canonize him. When the heat surrounding the so-called Clinton plan began to rise, Ellwood and others from the Jackson Hole Group moved quickly to distance themselves from the plan's core concepts. They chose not to risk political capital by vigorously defending the concept of managed competition.
I recall feeling deeply disappointed by their finger-pointing and willingness to lend their voices to the swelling chorus that opposed the Clinton reform plan.
Director of managed care
Grand Rapids, Mich.