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Event Summary

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has helped many previously uninsured Americans attain health insurance coverage. But it has likewise contributed to many individuals losing their coverage. On Friday, AEI’s Joseph Antos and Thomas P. Miller hosted a bipartisan discussion of the ACA with two health scholars from outside organizations.
Antos began by addressing the ACA exchange website problems and the Obama administration’s many misstatements. But he likewise highlighted that the GOP should be thankful that the US has blamed the administration rather than Republicans for these issues.

Ron Pollack of Families USA recognized the many disappointments that have plagued ACA supporters since the exchanges opened on October 1. Nonetheless, he was optimistic for the future, urging critics and supporters alike to avoid making claims of the failure or success of the ACA at this early juncture.

Gail Wilensky of Project Hope agreed with Pollack that the ACA did originally have good goals, but she criticized the means used to achieve them. She pointed out that whether people are better off now is largely dependent on what insurance they did or did not have before the law went into effect.

Miller elaborated on the several “shoes left to drop,” including ongoing court challenges, questions about provider networks, complications with the Small Business Health Options Program exchanges, and website privacy and security issues. Ultimately, all participants agreed that the ACA is unlikely to see significant reforms or fixes before 2016.
–Neil McCray

Event Description

When — the federal health insurance exchange portal created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — launched on October 1, America faced an unpleasant reality: the website did not work. And over the last several weeks, many people nationwide have lost their insurance coverage and will have to find new plans.

Despite these problems, some people who otherwise would not have coverage will gain it. Considering the mixed positive and negatives so far, what changes can we expect over the next year and beyond?

Join a bipartisan panel of experts who will meet to discuss who the ACA helps, who it hurts, and where the country is headed from here.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


9:00 AM
Registration and Breakfast

9:15 AM
Thomas P. Miller, AEI
Ron Pollack, Families USA
Gail Wilensky, Project Hope

Joseph Antos, AEI

11:00 AM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Neil McCray at [email protected], 202.862.5826.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Joseph Antos is the Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy at AEI. Antos’s research focuses on the economics of health policy and federal budget policy. He has written and spoken extensively on the Medicare drug benefit and has evaluated various proposals to extend health coverage to the uninsured. Antos is also a health adviser to the Congressional Budget Office and recently completed two terms as a commissioner of the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission. Before joining AEI, he was assistant director for health and human resources at the Congressional Budget Office and held senior positions in the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Management and Budget, and the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Thomas P. Miller is a resident fellow at AEI, where he focuses on health policy, with particular emphasis on information transparency, health insurance regulation, health care entitlement reform, and market-based alternatives to the policies of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He is the coauthor of “Why ObamaCare Is Wrong for America” (HarperCollins, 2011) and author of “When ObamaCare Fails: The Playbook for Market-Based Reform” (AEI, 2012).  He also directs AEI’s Beyond Repeal and Replace project. Miller was a member of the National Advisory Council for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality from 2007 to 2009. He was a senior health policy adviser for the John McCain presidential campaign in 2008. Before joining AEI in 2006, Miller served for three years as senior health economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress. He has also been director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute and director of economic policy studies at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and the State Bar of Georgia. Miller’s writing has appeared in publications such as Health Affairs, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and National Review.

Ron Pollack is the founding executive director of Families USA, the national organization for health care consumers. He is a frequent guest on a variety of television and radio programs, such as “PBS NewsHour,” NBC’s “Today” show, ABC’s “Good Morning America,” all of the network nightly news programs, and NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition.” He is often quoted in such leading newspapers as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and the Los Angeles Times. Pollack’s work has been recognized through various honors. The Hill named Pollack one of the nine top nonprofit lobbyists; Modern Healthcare named him one of the 100 most powerful people in health care; and National Journal named him one of the top 25 voices in the dialogue on Medicare prescription drug benefits.

Gail Wilensky is an economist and senior fellow at Project HOPE, an international health foundation. She directed the Medicare and Medicaid programs from 1990 to 1992 and served in the White House as a senior health and welfare adviser to former president George H. W. Bush. Wilensky currently serves as a trustee of the Combined Benefits Fund of the United Mine Workers of America and the National Opinion Research Center, is on the board of regents of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and is on the visiting committees of Harvard Medical School and the Geisinger Health System Foundation. She recently served as president of the Defense Health Board, a federal advisory to the secretary of defense; was a commissioner on the World Health Organization’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health; and cochaired the Department of Defense Task Force on the Future of Military Health Care.

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