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Henry J. Aaron

Recipient of the 2007 Robert M. Ball Award for Outstanding Achievements in Social Insurance

by Johanna Gray, Contributing Writer

Henry J. Aaron of the Brookings Institution will receive the 2007 Robert M. Ball Award on June 13, 2007. Henry has long been a leader in social insurance, distinguishing himself as an analyst, policymaker, professor, speaker, author, and editor for over four decades. His most recent work is helping to shape the current health care financing debate. 

Henry is currently Bruce and Virginia MacLaury Senior Fellow in the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, of which he was the director from 1990 through 1996. He has worked at Brookings since 1968, with a two-year break to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare from 1977-1978. He also taught at the University of Maryland from 1967 to 1989. He also served as Chair of the Advisory Council on Social Security in 1979 and was a Guggenheim Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study of Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University in 1996. He is a founding member of NASI. 

Henry is the author, co-author, or editor of 33 publications on a variety of subjects, including Social Security reform, health policy and aging, tax policy, housing policy, and social welfare and welfare reform. His written career began with his groundbreaking work with Joseph A. Pechman and Michael K. Taussig, Social Security: Perspectives for Reform. Most recently, Henry has written Can We Say No: The Challenge of Health Care Rationing (with Melissa Cox) an updating of his earlier book, The Painful Prescription: Rationing Hospital Care (co-authored with William Schwartz) which won the Policy Studies Organization Outstanding Book Award for the best public policy studies book of 1984, and also the Honorable Mention Award from the American College of Health Care Executives. 

He is currently a member of the board of directors of Abt Associates and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the advisory committee of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, and the visiting committee of the Harvard Medical and Dental Schools.

He has been vice-president and member of the executive committee of the American Economic Association and was president of the Association of Public Policy and Management. He has been a member of the boards of directors of the College Retirement Equity Fund and Georgetown University.

He has served on numerous advisory panels and as a consultant to many organizations and agencies, including the Association of American Railroads, the American Council on Life Insurance, the Territory of Saipan, Abt Associates, Inc, the Urban Institute, the OECD, the Council of Economic Advisers, and the Departments of the Treasury, Health, Education and Welfare, and Housing and Urban Development. 

The author of numerous academic and popular articles, Henry currently serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Health Economics and the Advisory Board of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, of which he was also an associate editor from 1987-1997. He was also an associate editor of the Journal of Public Economics.