Who’s Got the Cure? Four Options for Achieving Universal Coverage, Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Brookings Institution/Hamilton Project Forum – Part Two of Health Care Reconsidered: Options for Change

9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Ballroom, 13th Floor, The National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20045

On July 17, The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution will host a forum on health-care reform and release four alternative policy proposals for achieving the goal of universal health care coverage for all Americans. This forum builds on an April release of Hamilton Project papers examining policy options for making health care more affordable while also improving its effectiveness.

Following opening remarks by former Treasury Secretary and Hamilton Project Advisory Council member Robert E. Rubin, the first panel will highlight four new discussion papers on achieving universal coverage. A paper by Gerard Anderson and Hugh Waters of Johns Hopkins University proposes Medicare Part E(veryone), which would allow people to keep their current employer-sponsored health care coverage while at the same time offering coverage to all individuals and employers through expansion of the Medicare program (with subsidies for low income individuals). A proposal by Stuart Butler of the Heritage Foundation would move beyond the traditional model of employer-sponsored health insurance by creating state-chartered insurance exchanges to offer portable health plans and by reforming the tax treatment of health care. Ezekiel Emanuel of the National Institutes of Health and Victor Fuchs of Stanford University offer a plan to give vouchers to every American to pay for basic health insurance. They argue the vouchers, which would be funded by a value-added tax, would provide portability and promote greater cost-effectiveness. Finally, Jonathan Gruber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will examine the feasibility, costs, and benefits of extending nationwide the "Massachusetts model," which provides universal coverage through a combination of individual mandates, subsidies to low-and moderate-income households, and alternative risk pools to purchase insurance. Brookings Senior Fellow and Hamilton Project Director Jason Furman will moderate.

A second panel of experts from the business, labor and policy communities will explore the merits and challenges of the various proposals for achieving universal coverage. Confirmed panelists include former Treasury Secretary and Hamilton Project Advisory Council member Lawrence H. Summers; Brookings Senior Fellow and former Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Mark B. McClellan; Chairman and CEO of General Mills Stephen W. Sanger and AFSCME International President Gerald W. McEntee.

After each panel discussion, participants will take audience questions.