News Release: School of Public Health

Nov. 11,  2008

Emory's Institute for Advanced Policy Solutions Receives $600,000 Peterson Foundation Grant

News Article ImageKenneth E. Thorpe, PhD

Emory University's Institute for Advanced Policy Solutions (IAPS) has received a $600,000, one-year grant from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation to establish a Center for Entitlement Reform, the Institute announced today.

The new Center for Entitlement Reform is one of only a few university-based research centers in the U.S. focusing on federal health care entitlement reform.

The Center will conduct research and analysis in order to outline the factors responsible for the rise in federal entitlement spending, specifically focused on public health insurance programs; link new approaches in financing, payment, and care delivery for achieving better value (lower costs with the same or better outcomes) based on factors driving higher spending; and present the options to key policymakers in the U.S. Congress and White House, along with state-level governments, business leaders, the public and the media.

Public health policy researcher Kenneth E. Thorpe, PhD, will direct the new Center. Thorpe is also chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, and IAPS executive director. Additional staffing for the Center will include faculty from Emory's Institute for Health and Productivity Management, as well as a select group of IAPS fellows chosen from some of the nation's foremost and emerging thought leaders in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

"Entitlement programs must be reformed to reflect current economic realities and longer life spans while also making them solvent, sustainable, secure and more savings oriented," says Thorpe. "Spending cannot continue unabated without imperiling future generations. For far too long, needed health reform has foundered on ideology.

"The moment has come to set aside partisanship and, guided by sound research that explains both the nature and the urgency of the challenge, achieve real results," says Thorpe. "The Center for Entitlement Reform will help translate research into action to avert the looming crisis."

The rise in projected federal spending on health care results mostly from increasing costs per beneficiary but also because the aging of the baby boom generation will significantly raise the number of Medicare beneficiaries. According to the Congressional Budget Office, if health care spending grows as projected under current law, future budget deficits will rise to levels that will seriously jeopardize the nation's long-term economic growth.

"Washington policymakers are continuing to put off tough choices by charging the nation's credit card and expecting our kids and grandkids to pick up the tab," says Peterson Foundation President and CEO David M. Walker. "Social Security and Medicare must be reformed if we expect to maintain reasonable tax levels, invest in our collective future and deliver on the promises that the government makes. We are thrilled to be investing in Ken and Emory's thoughtful leadership in this fight."

The Center is expecting to complete its groundwork research and analysis and develop preliminary policy options—focused on reducing the rising prevalence of diagnosed and treated disease, more effective approaches for managing chronically ill patients and approaches for reducing the wide variation in per capita spending—by the end of calendar year 2008.

"America's health care crisis was not created overnight, and won't be solved immediately," adds Thorpe. "The Center for Entitlement Reform will have a research agenda encompassing for long-horizon views. However, we also recognize the short-term opportunity to impact health care policy of the incoming administration and 111th Congress early in 2009. Our near-term agenda is to complete an analysis of the key drivers of rising Medicare and Medicaid spending."

To learn more about the Institute for Advanced Policy Solutions and the Center for Entitlement Reform, visit www.emory.edu/policysolutions.

To learn more about the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, visit www.pgpf.org.

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The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

Learn more about Emory’s health sciences:
Blog: http://emoryhealthblog.com
Twitter: @emoryhealthsci
Web: http://emoryhealthsciences.org

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