Symposia & Meetings

A Look Ahead: The Next Two Decades in Federal and State Health Policy

a special event
Celebrating Hilltop’s 20 Years of Service

October 23, 2014

UMBC’s Albin O. Kuhn Library

On October 23, 2014, The Hilltop Institute held a special event to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Over the years, Hilltop has become one of the most highly regarded university-based health policy research organizations in the country.

The event consisted of a program titled A Look Ahead: The Next Two Decades in Federal and State Health Policy and was followed by a reception. Approximately 80 of Hilltop’s clients and colleagues gathered to celebrate its accomplishments, which wouldn’t have been possible without their partnership and support.

Bruce Vladeck, PhD, currently Senior Advisor for Nexera and former Administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA)—now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)—during the Clinton Administration, gave the keynote address. Looking back on the last 20 years, he highlighted gains in life expectancy, the shift that has occurred in major causes of mortality and morbidity, the significant decline in hospital utilization, and the slowing of health care spending. He stated that the Affordable Care Act is making a difference and that, between the Medicaid expansion and enrollment in the health insurance exchanges, he believes 20 to 25 million more people will be insured by 2016. Vladeck then spoke about three major challenges that lie ahead. First, disparities in access to health care are becoming more a matter of socioeconomic status and where one lives than race or ethnicity. A second challenge we face is brought about by the shift in insurance costs from employers to individuals. This shift has already shown a decrease in utilization patterns, especially for discretionary services. Finally, as the population ages, more people will need long-term services and supports, and with the shift to the use of home and community-based services, more people will receive care in the community. Yet there is not much evaluation of the quality or effectiveness of these services. Vladeck concluded by stating that the future of health care will be what we decide and charged the audience to “get it right.”

Responses were given by David Salkever, PhD, Professor of Public Policy at UMBC and Professor Emeritus in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins University, who spoke about how the availability of information could affect consumer choice of and physician recommendations for treatment and health care markets; Judah Ronch, PhD, Professor of Practice and Dean at The Erickson School at UMBC, who spoke about the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on the health care delivery system and the quality of life for seniors and their families; and Jonathan Weiner, DrPH, Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Professor of Health Informatics at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, who spoke about the use of electronic health records and health information technology to improve care, health, and efficiency.