Richard N. Pierson, Jr., MD is a Professor of Clinical Medicine, Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Pierson is a graduate of Princeton, and Columbia Medical College. He has been a Clinical Professor at Columbia for the last 45 years. He has served as President of the New York County Medical Society, was a member of the House of Delegates of the AMA, and has been on the Board of Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

Dr. Pierson’s presentation will be about Healthcare and is particularly timely in the context of rapidly changing developments due to the passage and current implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the political controversies swirling around it.

For the past decade, working with the Physicians for a National Health Program, his mission has been Healthcare Reform, a single-payer system for organizing, providing, and paying for healthcare. He has been involved in innumerable peer review and quality assurance agencies in furtherance of his belief that maintaining physician competence beyond initial training and residency is the most positive and effective way to maintain physician proficiency.

As a Professor at Columbia University Medical School, a researcher and a practicing physician he has long had an interest in such issues as preventative services, the quality of healthcare, fairness, cost and availability to all. He is particularly interested in comparing our current employer and insurance company based medical/health systems with those of other countries, especially those with single payer approaches.
The United States spent $8,233 on health per person in 2010. Norway, the Netherlands and Switzerland are the next highest spenders, at approximately $5,200 per person. The average spending on health care among developed countries is $3,600 per person. The U.S. devotes 17.6% of its Gross Domestic Product to health; the Netherlands is next at 12%, and the average among developed countries is 9.5%. Everyone acknowledges the concern, but agreement on a solution, or even on a direction of change, remains elusive.

For the past seven years, Dr. Pierson has spoken for Healthcare Reform, a single-payer system for organizing, providing, and paying for healthcare, with the Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP). Medical ethics, peer review, and organized medicine now converge, to flesh out the Social Contract in Professional Responsibility. The 2009-2011 “tidal wave” for Healthcare reform has created an overpowering need for new levels of integration between medical education, medical practice, medical teamwork (extending to all the Health professions), and the escalating question, of how we pay for medical care. Poised between academic medicine, high-tech/high-cost medical technology, patient care, organized medicine, and an obligation to the ethical/professional Social Contract, he focuses on the Professional Curriculum as a best-opportunity to “make a difference” for the next generation.

Arranged by Bob Smith