In 1999, the American Economic Association conducted a symposium on Medicare reform.
The American Economic Association, based at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., is a not-for-profit scholarly organization that promotes economic research.
Medicare spending is expected to increase substantially in the absence of reform. According to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office and the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration, Medicare spending in 1999 accounted for about 12 percent of the federal budget and could increase to as much as one-third of the federal budget by 2030.
Concern about the long-term stability and quality of Medicare, debate over the use of projected federal budget surpluses, and dissatisfaction with major Medicare reform legislation recent at the time—which proposed to reduce regulated fees for provider services—all contributed to interest in reform when this grant got funded.
The grantee organization proposed this conference during a time of legislative activity regarding Medicare reform.
The symposium grew out of the development of five papers—economic analyses of Medicare reform—that were being prepared for an issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Economic Association.
Through a symposium, the editors aimed to reach a broader audience of the public, the policy community and the press. Alan Krueger, professor of economics at Princeton University and editor of the journal, directed the project.
- The "Symposium on the Future of Medicare" took place on Oct. 15, 1999, at the National Press Club in Washington.
Approximately 50 people attended the symposium, including policy analysts from both the legislative and executive branches of the federal government; academic economists; interest groups related to health, the elderly and organized labor; and journalists.
Presentations were given by the authors of the papers, including:
- Mark McClellan, "Medicare Reform: Fundamental Problems, Incremental Steps"
- David M. Cutler, "Walking the Tightrope on Medicare Reform"
- Victor R. Fuchs, "Medicare Reform: The Larger Picture"
- Uwe E. Reinhardt, "Health Care for the Aging Baby Boom: Lessons From Abroad"
- Thomas R. Saving, "On Making the Transition to Prepaid Medicare"
The grantee organization reported that the audience represented the various groups the project hoped to reach but amounted to about half the number anticipated. The lower turnout was attributed partly to an article in The Washington Post the day before the symposium, in which Medicare reform had been pronounced dead.
The project director reported two results of the symposium:
- Academic health care economists and representatives of the health policy community exchanged ideas and perspectives.
- The authors received comments and suggestions from participants, which they used to revise the papers for publication in the spring 2000 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives.
Approximately 20,000 individual and 5,000 institutional subscribers received the spring 2000 issue of the Journal of Economic Perspectives. The articles prepared for the symposium are also available to members on the American Economic Association's website.
RWJF Scholar examines neighborhood-based death rates from opiate-based painkiller overdoses, compared with heroin overdose deaths.
A national conversation highlighting efforts to improve care transitions, reduce avoidable hospital readmissions, and lift overall quality o...
Adverse working conditions contribute substantially to the risk of depression for working-age adults, according to new research from a team ...
This month the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health published a special issue of its magazine devoted to food.
Unengaged patients can incur costs of up to 21% higher than patients who are highly engaged in care. This suite of materials from RWJF's AF4...
America is not getting good value for its health care dollar. These resources explore issues of cost and value of health care.
Hilary Levey Friedman, author of Playing to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture, writes about youth sports.
RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Jennifer Bellot writes about losing her grandmother to complications from a medical error.
The reconvened Commission to Build a Healthier America will provide new guidance in three key areas: early childhood, healthy communities, a...
RWJF Scholar puzzles out why people who do not drink alcohol are at greater risk for premature death than light to moderate drinkers.
While the need to address disparities in care is well known, few strategies for reducing disparities have been studied systematically.
Judith Halstead, president of the National League for Nursing, writes about the role of nursing education in realizing a transformed health ...