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Henry J. Aaron

30th Anniversary Honoree, Founding Member of the Academy, Distinguished Policy Analyst and Social Insurance Scholar

Henry J. Aaron of the Brookings Institution is an Honoree at the Academy’s 30th Anniversary Celebration. He was recently featured in a series of podcast interviews with Founding Members of the Academy hosted by CEO William Arnone.  In 2007 he received the Robert M. Ball Award for Outstanding Achievements in Social Insurance.  In addition to being a Founding Board Member of the Academy, Aaron will be recognized for his lifelong commitment to social insurance as a distinguished analyst, policymaker, professor, speaker, author, and editor for over four decades. 

Aaron is the 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 taught courses in macroeconomic theory and policy, public finance, and health economics 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.

Aaron is the author, co-author, or editor of numerous publications on a variety of subjects including: Social Security reform, health policy and aging, tax policy, housing policy, and social welfare and welfare reform.  Henry Aaron is the co-author of Can We Say No: The Challenge of Health Care Rationing (with William Schwartz and contributor Melissa Cox).  This publication is an update of his earlier book with William Schwartz, The Painful Prescription: Rationing Hospital Care.  This publication 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 has served 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.  

“Serving as the Academy’s first Vice President, Henry urged the early hiring of staff to plan activities that would give meaning to Academy Membership and cultivate the entry of younger people into the field of social insurance,” said William Arnone, CEO of the Academy.  “He also chaired the Academy’s first Conference Committee.”

Aaron is currently chair of the Social Security Advisory Board and Vice Chair of the District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange Authority.  He is a member of the board of directors of the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and the advisory board of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. He is also a member of the Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, He served on the visiting committee of the Harvard Medical and Dental Schools and of the Harvard Department of Economics. He was a member of the boards of directors of Georgetown University, the College Retirement Equity Fund, and Abt Associates.  Aaron was the vice-president and member of the executive committee of the American Economic Association and president of the Association of Public Policy and Management.  

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