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Event Summary

What can the 2014 Medicare Trustees Report tell us about the efficacy of Medicare? On Tuesday, AEI’s Joe Antos convened a panel of health policy and budgetary experts to assess Medicare’s current status and future outlook. 

Paul Spitalnic of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services offered a snapshot of Medicare’s financial standing, illustrating the evolving distribution of Medicare spending and highlighting positive changes from the 2013 report, including Medicare’s improved 75-year actuarial balance and modest improvements in part B and part D income. Spitalnic cited sustainability of provider payment cuts under the Affordable Care Act as a future challenge. 

The University of Southern California’s Paul Ginsburg weighed in on the uncertainty of forecasting Medicare spending. He was optimistic about the beginnings of payment reform for Medicare’s health services, urging the creation of performance incentives for health providers while encouraging beneficiaries to choose Accountable Care Organization providers. 

Keith Fontenot of the Brookings Institution shared Ginsburg’s optimism, commenting that the trustees’ report reveals some budgetary “breathing room” that is potentially advantageous for payment reform. Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum, however, cautioned that Medicare still represents 30 percent of national debt, which proves there is a great deal of work to be done to improve the Medicare program. 
–Kelly Funderburk

Event Description 

US health care spending, including Medicare spending, has slowed significantly in recent years. That slowdown is partially due to the recent recession and weak recovery, but may also be due to more fundamental factors that could have a longer-lasting impact. Will the slowdown continue?

In its soon-to-be released annual report, the Medicare Board of Trustees will give its assessment of the likely trend in Medicare spending over the next 75 years. Please join AEI as the chief actuary for Medicare summarizes the report’s results, followed by a panel discussion of what those spending trends are likely to mean for seniors, taxpayers, the health industry, and federal policy.

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.


9:45 AM

10:00 AM
Keynote Speaker:
Paul Spitalnic, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

10:45 AM
Keith Fontenot, Brookings Institution and Hooper, Lundy & Bookman PC
Paul Ginsburg, University of Southern California
Douglas Holtz-Eakin, American Action Forum

Joseph Antos, AEI

12:00 PM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Kelly Funderburk at [email protected], 202.862.5920.

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. He recently completed a seven-year term as health adviser to the Congressional Budget Office, and two terms as a commissioner of the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission. In 2013, he was also named adjunct associate professor of emergency medicine at George Washington University. His research focuses on the economics of health policy, including Medicare and broader health system reform, health care financing and the budget, health insurance regulation, and the uninsured.

Keith Fontenot is a visiting scholar in the Engelberg Center for Health Reform at the Brookings Institution and a managing director at Hooper, Lundy and Bookman PC. He is veteran of budget, legislative, and analytical issues surrounding the nation’s health and other major entitlement programs. Fontenot previously served as associate director for health at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); as deputy associate director for health, education, and income security at the Congressional Budget Office; as chief of the health financing branch at OMB; as associate deputy commissioner for policy at the Social Security Administration; and as chief of the income maintenance branch at OMB.

Paul Ginsburg is Norman Topping Chair in Medicine and Public Policy at the University of Southern California, where he is affiliated with the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics. He teaches graduate health administration courses and conducts health policy research. Until the end of 2013, he was president of the Center for Studying Health System Change, which he founded in 1995. Ginsburg served as the founding executive director of the Physician Payment Review Commission (now the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission) and as deputy assistant director at the Congressional Budget Office. He has been named to Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Influential Persons in Health Care” eight times and received the first annual HSR Impact Award from AcademyHealth.

Douglas Holtz-Eakin has a distinguished record as an academic, policy adviser, and strategist. He is currently the president of the American Action Forum and was most recently a commissioner on the congressionally chartered Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. Since 2001, Holtz-Eakin has served in a variety of important policy positions. He was the sixth director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) from 2003 to 2005. Following his tenure at CBO, Holtz-Eakin was the director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies and was the Paul A. Volcker Chair in International Economics at the Council on Foreign Relations. Holtz-Eakin serves on the boards of the Tax Foundation, National Economists Club, and research advisory board of the Center for Economic Development.

Paul Spitalnic is the chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Spitalnic joined CMS in 2003 and led the actuarial efforts to implement the new Part D program. Since 2006, Spitalnic has held the position of director of the Parts C & D Actuarial Group, where he has responsibility for the review of Medicare Advantage and Part D plan bids, preparing budget and cost estimates for the Parts C and D programs and calculating the Medicare Advantage benchmark rates. Before joining CMS, he worked as a consulting actuary focusing on retiree health insurance issues. Spitalnic is an associate of the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries.

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