For Immediate Release | December 23, 2020


Bethany Cole, (202) 452-8097

The National Academy of Social Insurance has launched a new Task Force on the potential impacts of COVID-19 on the population, the economy, and social insurance in the United States.

“The pandemic has laid bare major weaknesses and gaps in our existing social insurance ecosystem,” said William Arnone, Chief Executive Officer of the Academy. “This new Task Force will help policymakers better understand the full economic and social costs of the pandemic, especially for the most at-risk segments of our population who are disproportionately harmed by COVID-19.”

The first phase of the Task Force will focus on the work of an Epidemiology Working Group, chaired by Dr. Neil Powe, leader of the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medicine Service at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Prior to joining UCSF, Dr. Powe was Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Director of the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research. He was also Professor of Epidemiology and Health Policy and Management at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Nortin Hadler, Emeritus Professor of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is serving as Principal Investigator for the Working Group.

“The impact of the pandemic, both from a public health and economic perspective, has substantially exacerbated the challenges federal policymakers will face in preserving and strengthening key social insurance programs,” said Dr. Powe. “The Epidemiology Working Group will explore three different scenarios of the likely consequences of the pandemic – optimistic, intermediate, and pessimistic. Our goal is to provide policymakers and government officials, including actuaries at the Social Security Administration and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, with a timely, independent, and objective assessment of the pandemic’s likely course. I’m pleased to serve as chair of this working group comprised of many esteemed colleagues.”

The second phase of the COVID-19 Task Force will shift to a Policy Translation Working Group. Members of this second Working Group will be announced by the spring of 2021. The Task Force will issue several briefs throughout 2021. To learn more, please contact Bethany Cole, Policy Analyst, at


Epidemiology Working Group:

*Chair: Neil Powe, MD, Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

*Principal Investigator: Nortin Hadler, MD, Emeritus Professor of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

*Donald Berwick, MD, President Emeritus and Senior Fellow, Institute for Health Care Improvement, and former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Benjamin Djulbegovic, MD, Professor and Director of Evidence-based Medicine and Comparative Effectiveness Research, Beckman Research Institute, Department of Computational and Quantitative Medicine, City of Hope

Diane Havlir, MD, Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

*Jay Himmelstein, MD, Professor Emeritus, Population and Quantitative Health Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Massachusetts

*Paula Lantz, PhD, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, James B. Hudak Professor of Health Policy, and Professor of Public Policy and Health Management & Policy, University of Michigan

*Mark McClellan, MD, Robert J. Margolis Professor of Business, Medicine, and Policy, Duke University, and former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and former Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration

*David Michaels, PhD, Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health/Epidemiology, George Washington University, and former Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health

*Jewell Mullen, MD, Associate Dean for Health Equity and Associate Professor, Department of Population Health, Dell Medical School, University of Texas, and former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Jennifer Nuzzo, DrPH, Senior Scholar, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Health and Engineering and Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Julia Raifman, ScD, Assistant Professor, Health Law, Policy, and Management, School of Public Health, Boston University

George Rutherford, MD, Professor, Epidemiology & Biostatistics, and Director, Prevention and Public Health Group, School of Public Health, University of California, San Francisco

David Weber, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases; Professor of Pediatrics, University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine; Professor of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health; Medical Director, UNC Hospitals’ Departments of Hospital Epidemiology (Infection Prevention)

*Member of the National Academy of Social Insurance

Since the National Academy of Social Insurance was founded in 1986, it has provided rigorous inquiry and insights into the functioning of our nation’s social insurance programs – Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, and Workers’ Compensation. Comprised of over 1,100 Members – the nation’s top experts in social insurance and related policies and programs – the Academy studies how social insurance can continue to meet the changing needs of American families, employees, and employers, including uninsured or underinsured economic risks. To learn more about the Academy’s work, please visit, or follow @socialinsurance on Twitter.

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