Dec 16

Past Event

Controlling Medicare Costs: Is Premium Support The Answer?

Event Materials



  • Medicare Should be Preserved, and Reformed

    Alice Rivlin: Medicare needs to be preserved but it’s also crucial that it is reformed. We have to act to flatten the escalating cost curve and ensure that the program is fiscally sound going forward.

    Isabel V. Sawhill

  • Failure to Fix Medicare Would be Severe

    Senator Peter Domenici, Co-chair, Debt Reduction Task Force: If we fail to fix Medicare, the nation will have real challenges to confront -- and there’s a possibility that the country could go bankrupt.

  • Who Bears Cost of Changes to Medicare?

    Henry J. Aaron: As an economist, I don’t think the current Medicare program is in crisis. The real discussion is: who bears the cost of changes to the program?

    Henry J. Aaron

Full Event


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With the failure of the congressional super committee to reach a consensus, the stalemate on addressing the U.S. budget deficit continues. But the problem remains: to close the budget gap, revenues must be increased and spending must be reduced. And there is a growing consensus that the federal deficit cannot be brought under control unless reforms are enacted that slow the growth of Medicare spending.

On December 16, the Budgeting for National Priorities project at Brookings and the Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force hosted a discussion of the role of premium support in controlling Medicare costs and in making U.S. health care more efficient and effective. A new paper written by experts on the issue who participate in the ongoing Brookings-Heritage fiscal seminar was released at the event. The paper provides an overview of the basic elements of moving from the current fee-for-service model to a premium support plan, reviews the arguments for and against premium support, and proposes a specific premium support plan. At the event, premium support was explained and its strengths and weaknesses analyzed by major speakers and a panel of experts.

After each session, speakers and panelists took audience questions.

Download the full paper and premium support proposals »
Download commentary arguing against premium support by Judy Feder, Paul Van de Water and Henry Aaron »

Event Agenda


December 16, 2011

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM EST

The Brookings Institution

Falk Auditorium

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW


For More Information

Brookings Office of Communications

(202) 797-6105