For several decades health spending in the United States rose much faster than other spending. Forecasters predicted the health sector, already 17% of GDP, would soon exceed 20 to 25% of GDP, driving out other necessary public and private spending. However, in recent years health spending growth dropped dramatically and surprisingly, to a record slow pace for the fourth straight year in 2012. It is not clear why this turn around occurred or how long it will last.
On Friday, April 11th the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at Brookings brought together several experts to discuss three questions that will also be addressed in a forthcoming series of Brookings papers. The discussion and papers address the causes of the slowdown and the likelihood it will continue; its impact on federal and state budgets, and private spending; and identify reforms that will ensure slow cost growth while improving health.
Over a dozen economic and health policy experts participated in panel discussions, including Harvard’s David Cutler, American Action Forum’s Douglas Holtz-Eakin, University of Southern California’s Paul Ginsburg, and Altarum’s Charles Roehrig.
Read more about the papers being presented
- Perspectives on Health Care Spending Growth by Louise Sheiner
- Federal Health Spending and the Budget Outlook: Some Alternative Scenarios by Alan Auerbach, William Gale and Benjamin Harris
- The Potential Impact of Alternative Health Care Spending Scenarios on Future State and Local Government Budgets by Donald Boyd
- Alternative Health Spending Scenarios: Implications for Employers and Working Households by Paul Ginsburg
- Improving Health While Reducing Cost Growth: What is Possible? by Mark McClellan and Alice Rivlin
Welcome and Opening Remarks
9:00 am - 9:05 am
Understanding the Slowdown in Health Care Spending GrowthDiscussion Paper: "Anatomy of the Slowdown: What Happened and Will It Last?"
9:05 am - 10:15 amAmitabh Chandra Ethel Zimmerman Wiener Professor of Public Policy and Director of Health Policy Research - Harvard Kennedy School, Henry and Allison McCance Professor of Business Administration - Harvard Business School
Why Health Spending Growth Matters to Budgets and the Private SectorGale & Holtz-Eakin Discussion Paper: "Possible Impact of Alternative Health Spending Scenarios on the Federal Budget"Boyd & Scheppach Discussion Paper: "The Potential Impact of Alternative Health Care Spending Scenarios on Future State and Local Government Budgets"Ginsburg & Kowalski Discussion Paper: "Alternative Health Spending Scenarios: Implications for Employers and Working Households"
10:30 am - 12:00 pm
8:30 am - 9:00 am
Lunch (to be provided)
12:00 pm - 12:45 pm
Sustainable Reductions in Health Care Spending: What is Possible While Improving Health?Discussion Paper: "Improving Health While Reducing Cost Growth: What is Possible?"
12:45 pm - 2:05 pm
10:15 am - 10:25 am
2:05 pm - 2:15 pm