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Two New Expert Study Panels Established By NASI Medicare Project

For Immediate Release: July 27, 2000
Contact: Jill Braunstein at (202) 452-8097


Sheila Burke, Mark Schlesinger Appointed as Panel Chairs

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) announced today the formation of two new study panels, chaired by health policy experts Sheila Burke and Mark Schlesinger, to build on the work of the Academy's on-going project Restructuring Medicare for the Long-Term.

The Study Panel on Medicare Governance and Management, chaired by Sheila Burke, will examine a broad set of Medicare administration and policy issues. Burke, a founding member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, recently left her position as Executive Dean of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University to become Undersecretary for Museums at the Smithsonian Institution. Other members of the panel include experts in private health insurance, political science, public administration, Medicare management, administrative law and health administration. (See attached for a complete list of panel members.)

The Governance and Management Study Panel will address a set of questions, including:


  • What functions need to be carried out to manage Medicare effectively in the future? How are these functions carried out today? How did Medicare's architects intend the program to be run?

  • How well does this structure meet the program's current needs? What are its strengths and weaknesses?

  • What institutional structures with what management powers and flexibility would best serve the current and future Medicare program? Are there lessons from other public and private enterprises from which Medicare policymakers might draw?

  • Given increased expectations under some restructuring proposals that Medicare beneficiaries become more informed health care consumers, should Medicare contemplate a greater local presence?

  • What other financial and human resources are needed to carry out all of these administrative activities? How ought those resources be funded?

The Study Panel on Medicare and Markets, chaired by Mark Schlesinger, will examine issues related to provider payment, equity, and consumer protection in the array of local health care and insurance markets that could emerge if the Medicare program is restructured. Panel chair Mark Schlesinger is an economist and associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at Yale University Medical School. Other members of the panel include experts in health economics, political science, sociology, medicine, law, health care administration, and Medicare policy. (See attached for a complete list of panel members.)

The Medicare and Markets Study Panel will examine critical questions, including:

  • How might increased reliance on local or regional competition affect the availability and cost of services to beneficiaries?

  • How might potential changes in the Medicare benefits package affect the supplemental insurance market, retiree health benefits, out-of-pocket liability, and the use and cost of health services for different segments of the beneficiary population?

  • What issues will federal and state governments need to address with respect to regulation, oversight, and consumer education and protection in the health insurance and the health care markets in which Medicare operates?

Both panels were appointed by the Academy's nonpartisan 20-member Medicare Steering Committee, chaired by Robert Reischauer, President of the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C. “The breadth and depth of the new study panelists helps ensure that they can tackle difficult technical problems, as well as help work through the confounding political implications of reform,” said Reischauer. “The Steering Committee believes that these panels will demonstrate the value of a comprehensive effort that remains focused on the purpose and implications of Medicare reform,” he continued.

A third study panel on chronic care and Medicare in the 21st century will be named later this year. The project is supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of the nation's leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to conduct research and enhance public understanding of social insurance, develop new leaders, and provide a nonpartisan forum for the exchange of important ideas in the field. For more information on the National Academy of Social Insurance visit www.nasi.org or call (202) 452-8097.
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