I’m live blogging this session of Health Journalism 2008, with panelists including:
- Paul Fronstin, Ph.D., Director, Health Research and Education Program, Employee Benefit Research Institute, on Private Health Insurance 101. (Here’s a PDF of a related presentation he’s done previously.)
- Gail Wilensky, Ph.D. on Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Plans
- Paul Ginsburg, Ph.D., Center for Studying Health System Change
- Dr. Joy Drass, President, Georgetown University Hospital
I’ll possibly have some video of Dr. Fronstin later; he gave a good overview of the basics of private health insurance.
Dr. Wilensky says the basic problem is that health spending is growing by an average of 2.5 percent more than the rest of the economy. Over the long term, she says, Medicare growth approximates growth for all health care. If overall spending continues to increase at the rate it has, and if Medicare essentially mirrors that growth rate, we will see Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security consume all of the federal government’s current revenues before 2030. She recommended what she calls some sensible next steps for Medicare: