Medicare: Preparing for the Challenges of the 21st Century

January 23, 1997 January 24, 1997
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In this multifaceted analysis, some of the nation's most prominent social insurance experts go beond recent budget debates to examine the fundamental and technical choices Medicare reform poses for the American people in the next century. The conference begins with a consideraion of the underlying social contract between Medicare's beneficiaries and workers. Pointing out that the program historically has had particular signigicance for civil rights and women's economic security in addition to providing health care, the speakers debate the appropriate social contract for the future. The speakers also lay out the challenges in financing Medicare as health care costs rise and the population ages.

Several speakers explore how the growth in managed care is likely to affect Medicare beneficiaries, particularly those with chronic illness, and they address some of the policy changes needed to make managed care better. In addition, they also look at how managed care techniques could be applied to the fee-for-service sector. The conference concludes with an examination of how public opinion, politics, and leadership affect the prospects for significant Medicare restructuring in the near and long term.

Conference Co-chairs:

Robert D. Reischauer
Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and former Director of the Congressional Budget Office

Stuart Butler
Vice President and Director of Domestic and Economic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation

Judith R. Lave
Professor of Health Economics in the Graduate School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh

A book of published proceeding, Medicare: Preparing for the Challenges of the 21st Century, edited by Robert D. Reischauer, Stuart Butler, and Judith R. Lave, is available through the Brookings Institution Press at 800-275-1447.