Yale panel explores future of Medicare

A panel of policy experts and influential pundits — including David Brooks of The New York Times — will meet at Yale on April 2 to consider the uncertain prospects of Medicare.

The free and public event will be held in the Presidents Room of Woolsey Hall, 500 College St., noon–1:30 p.m.

Titled “The Future of Medicare: Policy Options and Political Realities,” the discussion is sponsored by Yale’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS).

In addition to Brooks, an op-ed columnist, the panel includes Zack Cooper, assistant professor of public health and economics at Yale, and the organizer of the panel; Jacob Hacker, the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science and director of ISPS; and Thomas Scully, who was director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services 2001–2003 under President George W. Bush. The moderator of the discussion will be Sarah Kliff, health policy reporter for the Washington Post.

Representing a diversity of viewpoints, the panelists will consider measures to make Medicare viable over the long haul. Noting that Medicare is the “dominant driver of U.S. government spending growth,” Cooper argues that tightening the reins of the program is essential to avoid more spending cuts or higher taxes. The panel will discuss “the political realities of improving the Medicare program and making it fiscally sustainable,” says Cooper.

Among the topics panelists will cover are Paul Ryan’s proposals for changing the program, the political challenges to reform, getting the support of seniors, and policy options — from raising eligibility and means testing to introducing cost-effective thresholds for benefits and instituting defined contributions.

In the video above, Cooper talks about the panel.

Founded in 1968, ISPS advances interdisciplinary research in the social sciences that aims to shape public policy and inform democratic deliberation. Among its many activities, the institution organizes faculty seminars, supports research and publications, and hosts public discussions with scholars and practitioners on critical social issues.