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Host: American Enterprise Institute. Economic progress and advances of medical technology have helped increase life expectancy. Nevertheless, a marked aging of the population has raised concerns that this progress may increase health care spending beyond sustainable levels. In previous research, Swiss economist Peter Zweifel found however that the share of the population approaching death—that is, “time to death”—was a more important predictor of health status and future health spending than population aging per se, which amounts, he argues, to a “red herring.” At this event, Zweifel will present his most recent findings on aging and future health care spending. His body of work accounts for the separate effects of long-term care services on health care spending. Zweifel’s analysis also examines how changes in death rates (mortality) and disease rates (morbidity) contribute differently to health spending trends. His research continues to show that aging will not contribute much to the future growth of per-capita health care expenditures. In addition, Zweifel suggests that one could also slow this projected rate of growth by increasing contractual choices in health insurance to persuade at least a portion of even the oldest age groups to self-ration while improving their overall well-being. Responding to Zweifel will be three distinguished analysts of demographics and health spending: Phil Ellis of the Congressional Budget Office; James Lubitz, formerly of the National Center for Health Statistics; and Louise Sheiner of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Official Website: http://www.aei.org/events/eventID.1752,filter.all/event_detail.asp

Added by insideronline on June 23, 2008

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