January 26 – January 27, 2012

24th Annual Policy Research Conference

Conference Co-Chairs:

Sheila P. Burke, Faculty Member, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

James Roosevelt, Jr., President & CEO, Tufts Health Plan

Margaret C. Simms, Institute Fellow, The Urban Institute

Overview: With the nation continuing to face complex economic challenges in a presidential election year, NASI’s 24th annual conference focused on the importance of social insurance in contributing to a vibrant and sustainable economy that serves all Americans. Throughout the two-day conference, keynote speakers, panelists, and attendees explored how a strong, competitive economy requires strong, innovative social insurance programs – and vice versa.

Day 1 of NASI’s 2012 conference focused on the implications of social insurance for business and on health care policy. Topics and questions explored during the various sessions included:

  • Why the business community and social insurance need each other, and what needs to be done to make both stronger.
  • Breakthrough opportunities to promote higher quality healthcare at lower cost, especially in a time of polarized debate.
  • Almost two years after enactment: What’s gone right/wrong with implementing the ACA? What comes next in implementation?
  • What else can we do to promote health security? What are the underlying values that drive the quest for improved health security?

The first day was also capped off by a reception, where the winner of the 2012 Heinz Dissertation Award was recognized.

Day 2 of the conference focused on labor, workforce, and unemployment issues; the role of Social Security; and strategies for communicating the role of social insurance programs across various audiences. Topics and questions explored during the various sessions included:

  • What is the nature and extent of the current jobs crisis, and how can we address it by creating more and better opportunities for workers of all ages?
  • Do we need to rethink unemployment insurance? Training and retraining? Education? The tax code?
  • If social insurance experts and advocates have a great story to tell, why aren’t more Americans listening and responding to it? How can we improve our messaging to tell a more compelling story?
  • How can Social Security benefits be made more adequate to meet 21st century needs? Can fresh strategies produce the additional revenues Social Security will need in the future?

Over 250 people participated in the conference including: policy analysts, advisors, and researchers; educators; business and industry leaders; workers and their representatives; journalists; legislative staff at the federal, state, and local levels; program administrators; and advocates and grassroots organization leaders.

The 2012 conference also featured an exhibit lounge where NASI partners and conference sponsors disseminated information about their work. A major part of the exhibit lounge was the annual member book exhibit, which included 35 books and other publications authored or co-authored by NASI members. Publications covered a variety of topics within the field of social insurance, ranging from Social Security to health care policy. For a complete list of books in the exhibit and information on how to order them, click here (PDF).