Commentators often exploit the word “sustainable” when discussing federal budget obligations and the key health care driver, yet there is little analytical discussion of what is meant by unsustainable health care spending – how to define, quantify, and examine the federal budget implications, and what steps are necessary to alter an otherwise bleak budget outlook. Moving toward a financially sustainable system will be a major goal for many years, regardless of the fate of the Affordable Care Act – either judicially via the Supreme Court ruling, or legislatively via the presidential election and new Congress.

This half-day symposium will explicitly connect the U.S. budget situation to health care cost control. The resultant framework keeps policymakers honest by characterizing how, under nearly full insurance coverage and long-run deficit control, the budget directly links to tax revenues, spending on nonhealth programs, government health care spending, the total growth rate of national health expenditures, and the percentage of gross domestic product devoted to health spending.


8:30 - 9:00 a.m.      Continental Breakfast and Welcome
Jeff Moore, Chief Development Officer, Altarum Institute
Ceci Connolly, Managing Director, PwC Health Research Institute – Moderator

9:00 - 9:40 a.m.      I. Federal Health Spending: What Path is Implied Under U.S. Budget Deficit Control?
Alice Rivlin, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, Brookings Institution – Presenter
Joseph Antos, Wilson H. Taylor Scholar, American Enterprise Institute – Discussant

9:45 - 10:45 a.m.    II. Overall Health Spending: What Path Are We On?
Len Nichols, Professor, George Mason University – Presenter
Arnold Milstein, Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine – Presenter
Ziad Haydar, VP Clinical Excellence, Ascension Health – Discussant

15 Minute Networking Break

11:00 - 11:40 a.m.    III. Sustainable Health Spending: What Does a Viable Path Look Like?
Charlie Roehrig, Director, Altarum Center for Sustainable Health Spending – Presenter
Donald Marron, Director, Tax Policy Center, Urban Institute – Reactor

11:45 - 12:45 p.m.    IV. Roundtable: Are We Already on A Sustainable Health Spending Path?
Joanne Kenen, Deputy Health Care Editor, POLITICO Pro, Session Moderator
David Lansky, CEO, Pacific Business Group on Health
Karen Ignagni, President and CEO, America's Health Insurance Plans

12:45 p.m.      Lunch and Informal Discussions


How to RSVP

Seating for the Policy Roundtable is limited and reservations are required by July 13, 2012. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.

For individuals registering to join via webcast (symposium panels from 9:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m. only), an email confirmation will be sent with further instructions.

Event Date & Location

Tue, Jul 24, 2012 - 8:30am to 12:45pm
The Pew Charitable Trusts Conference Center
901 E Street, NW
Washington, DC

Host Organization

Support for this Symposium provided by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Subject Matter Experts

Contact Information

Paul Hughes-Cromwick