June 20, 2012

This event honored Robert D. Reischauer — recipient of the 2012 Robert M. Ball Award for Outstanding Achievements in Social Insurance.


On Wednesday evening, June 20, 2012, NASI was pleased to present Robert D. Reischauer with the 2012 Robert M. Ball Award for Outstanding Achievements in Social Insurance. The Robert M. Ball Award is given each year in celebration and in honor of NASI’s founder, Robert M. Ball, Commissioner of Social Security (1962-1973). The award is presented to an individual who has made significant contributions to strengthening social insurance for Americans. Throughout his prolific career, Bob Reischauer, like Bob Ball, has brought people together. Bob Reischauer’s leadership – from directing the Congressional Budget Office to serving as president of the Urban Institute for over a dozen years – has empowered decision-makers with the necessary knowledge to maintain the strong social insurance system on which all Americans rely.

Read a profile of Bob Reischauer’s career

Watch Bob Reischauer’s acceptance remarks

More than 250 policy, research, advocacy and business leaders came together to celebrate Reischauer’s achievements. The evening was filled with humorous reflections from a number of speakers, including:

  • Henry Aaron, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, The Brookings Institution
  • Douglas Elmendorf, Director, Congressional Budget Office
  • Robert Solow, 1987 Nobel Laureate in Economics
  • G. William (Bill) Hoagland, Vice President, Federal Public Policy, CIGNA
  • Congressman Barney Frank, Ranking Member, House Committee on Financial Services
  • Senator Pete V. Domenici, Former Chairman, Senate Budget Committee, and Former Chairman, Senate Energy Committee

A full program is available here (PDF).

Each year, the Robert M. Ball Award is presented to an individual whose recent work has made a significant impact on the U.S. social insurance system. Selection criteria:

  • Innovation in changing, education about or otherwise furthering public understanding and informed policymaking in a specific area of social insurance; and
  • Effectiveness in deepening public understanding, fostering collaboration, informing policy, implementing policy, or teaching others about social insurance.

Learn more about the Robert M. Ball Award and see a list of previous winners.

About Robert M. Ball

No individual has done more to advance American social insurance programs than Robert M. Ball. From his early appointment in a field office to his selection as Commissioner of Social Security by President Kennedy in 1962, to advisory roles in each of the following presidential administrations, Bob Ball sought a balance between political pragmatism and his determination to protect the principles of social insurance. He was the single most influential individual in advancing American social insurance programs for over 60 years.

Bob Ball served as Commissioner of Social Security from 1962 to 1973. He also played a crucial role in the origin of Medicare in 1965, and then successfully carried out the ambitious task of implementing the program. Ball founded the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) in 1986 and continued to advise presidential administrations and policymakers and to write on Social Security, Medicare, national health insurance and welfare until his death in January 2008 at the age of 93. Bob Ball’s greatest gift was his ability to persuade policymakers across countless contexts to put aside partisanship for the sake of posterity.