| April 21, 2004


For Release:
April 21, 2004
Contact: Jill Braunstein, (202) 452-8097

Washington, DC— The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) has announced the formation of a new study panel to examine how Medicare can strengthen its role in reducing racial and ethnic disparities in health care. The study panel, funded primarily by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will be chaired by Bruce C. Vladeck, Professor of Health Policy and Geriatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and former HCFA (now CMS) Administrator.

“As a social insurance program, Medicare has a responsibility to assure that all beneficiaries who have contributed to the system, regardless of their race or ethnicity, receive the best possible care,” said Vladeck. Although Medicare provides the same benefits to all beneficiaries, significant barriers remain in closing the gap among racial and ethnic groups. Minority beneficiaries disproportionately face unequal treatment, poor health status, and unaffordable out-of-pocket expenditures. Research has established that these differences exist even when income and education are factored out. Medicare could be a leader in reducing health disparities among its beneficiaries—and because its influence extends to the rest of the health system—in reducing health disparities for all Americans.

The study panel will design specific recommendations to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities among Medicare beneficiaries and throughout the health system. The project will publish a series of briefs and a final report of findings, which will be disseminated to the broadest possible policy audience, as well as to the media. June Eichner, Senior Research Associate at NASI, will be the study director of the two-year project. A complete list of study panel members follows.

Study Panel on Sharpening Medicare’s Tools for Reducing Racial & Ethnic Health Disparities

Bruce C. Vladeck, Chair
Mt. Sinai School of Medicine

Joseph R. Betancourt
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School

Daniel P. Bourque
VHA, Inc.

Kathleen Ann Buto
Johnson & Johnson

Nilda Chong
Kaiser Permanente

Marian E. Gornick
Independent consultant

Rodney G. Hood
Careview Medical Group

Charles N. Kahn III
Federation of American Hospitals

Renèe M. Landers
Suffolk University Law School

Maya M. Rockeymoore
Congressional Black Caucus Foundation

Reed V. Tuckson
UnitedHealth Group

David R. Williams
University of Michigan

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Liaison: Rose Crum-Johnson

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The National Academy of Social Insurance is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization made up of the nation’s leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to promote understanding and informed policy-making on social insurance and related programs through research, public education, training, and the open exchange of ideas. For more information on the National Academy of Social Insurance visit www.nasi.org or call (202) 452-8097.

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