Altarum Institute’s Sixth Annual Symposium on Sustainable U.S. Health Spending

“My advice to the next president is you need to confront broader budget issues, not just health care. The health care issues are part of a broader frame that will be addressed when other issues are addressed,” said Eugene Steuerle, Richard B. Fischer Chair at the Urban Institute.

Panelists Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Jeff Goldsmith and Joseph Antos agreed with this sentiment. After spending an hour dissecting the problem of health spending in the United States, they finally found some consensus on looking ahead, even if it presented a somewhat dismal outlook for the next administration.

This conversation took place at the Altarum Institute’s sixth annual symposium on sustainable U.S health spending, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Among the panelists was ACHP president and CEO Ceci Connolly, who served as a moderator, navigating the discussion among four experts in the field, with different backgrounds and diverging opinions.

To kick-start the conversation, speakers first presented their perspectives on current health spending in the United States with detailed statistics to supplement their analysis. They talked about the 2008 recession’s effect on the health care, the lack of technological advancements in hospitals since the 1990s, the Affordable Care Act, increasing deductibles and share of per capita GDP growth as a variable to measure health cost growth. By sharing their distinct opinions on the issue and often poking fun at each other, the panelists engaged in an honest dialogue on the present and future of health care in the United States.

– Aparna Mazumdar