Policies for an Aging Society / Edition 1

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One in eight Americans today is over the age of 65, and the proportion will increase dramatically in the future. The aging of the population has begun to drive tax and budget decisions and the federal policy agenda, as policy makers and voters look ahead to enormous demands on the health and income security programs. Indeed, it is projected that Medicare and Social Security will constitute nearly half the federal budget in the year 2030, when one in five Americans will be over 65.

In Policies for an Aging Society, Stuart H. Altman and David I. Shactman have gathered experts in public and health policy, economics, law, and management to identify the salient issues and explore realistic options. From positions ranging from liberal to conservative, the contributors take a wide view of the philosophical, economic, and programmatic aspects of the social protection programs for elderly Americans. They ask broad questions and propose integrated conceptions of how our society can best provide for the needs of its aging population.

Contributors: Henry J. Aaron, Brookings Institution; Robert H. Binstock, Case Western Reserve University; Peter F. Drucker; Lynn M. Etheredge, George Washington University; Victor R. Fuchs, Stanford University; John Geanakoplos, Yale University; Jonathan Gruber, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Richard D. Lamm, University of Denver; Theodore R. Marmor, Yale University; Jerry L. Mashaw, Yale University; Olivia S. Mitchell, University of Pennsylvania; Alicia H. Munnell, Boston College; Norman J. Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research; Mark V. Pauly, University of Pennsylvania; Rudolph G. Penner, Urban Institute; Wendell E. Primus, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; C. Eugene Steuerle, Urban Institute; Paul N. Van de Water, Social Security Administration; David Wise, Harvard University; Stephen P. Zeldes, Columbia University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Anna Maio, MD (Creighton University Medical Center)
Description: This is a comprehensive look at society's challenges as we strive to provide healthcare and income security to an increasingly aging population.
Purpose: The contributors depict primarily long-term projections relating economic constraints to health policy and the political climate. This debate is vital as we plan healthcare and retirement for the elderly.
Audience: Everyone interested in this problem will find this book readable and thought provoking. It could be an excellent textbook, as both sides of each challenge are consistently presented; for example, defined benefit vs. defined contribution. Contributors are leaders in their fields, with a wide knowledge base and experience.
Features: The book is divided into four main parts including an overview of the issues, a look at the economic structure, a focus on policy issues, and the political atmosphere. Each chapter concludes with timely references. For economic novices the chapters on international perspective and budget estimates are quite readable and set a framework for the remainder of the debate. The discussion contrasting universal coverage and limiting entitlements draws readers below the surface, forcing them to rethink their positions. The scattered tables and graphics are useful and complement the text. Most chapters feature headings to break up the text, creating a reader friendly format. The index is explicit and allows the reader to search by phrase, for example Entitlement "Crisis", or individual, Greenspan, Alan.
Assessment: The authors and editors have created a timely, readable, and thought provoking text. The reader is drawn into the debate and leaves hoping that our leaders use such an approach to find long-term solutions for the healthcare and retirement needs of our increasingly aging population.
Presents a comprehensive array of writings about the economic, social, and policy issues facing the United States in maintaining a social insurance program for the elderly into the 21st century. The book covers aging policy broadly and in depth, and the text provides good explanations for the technical concepts discussed in the book.

— Peggy A. Gallup

Inquiry - Peggy A. Gallup
Presents a comprehensive array of writings about the economic, social, and policy issues facing the United States in maintaining a social insurance program for the elderly into the 21st century. The book covers aging policy broadly and in depth, and the text provides good explanations for the technical concepts discussed in the book.
Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law - Eric M. Patashnik
This important book is distinguished by its careful attention to all three major programs affording retirement security to the elderly (Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid), by its admirable insistence on the need to bring both historical and international perspectives to bear on contemporary American welfare state topics, and by its balanced treatment of the political and economic dimensions of critical policy issues.
This collection of 17 essays evolved from an October 1999 conference held in Landsdowne, Virginia, organized by the Council on the Economic Impact of Health System Change. Twenty-three American specialists in public and health policy, economics, law, and management set forth the challenges of providing health and income security to the nation's aging population. They provide a full range of perspectives<--> liberal, conservative, international<-->on policies for the aging, the U.S. economic and budget framework, and the political feasibility of achieving reform of elderly entitlement programs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

4 Stars! from Doody
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801869075
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Stuart H. Altman is Sol C. Chaikin Professor of National Health Policy at Brandeis University. David I. Shactman is a senior research associate at Brandeis University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Pt. I Introduction
1 Overview: Issues and Options for an Aging Population 3
2 An International Perspective on Policies for an Aging Society 34
Pt. II The Economic Framework
3 Budget Estimates: What We Know, What We Can't Know, and Why It Matters 63
4 Long-Run Budget Projections and Their Implications for Funding Elderly Entitlements 81
5 Increased Public Spending on the Elderly: Can We Afford It? 109
6 The Economic Consequences of Funding Growing Elderly Entitlements 127
7 The Entitlement Crisis That Never Existed 140
Pt. III Policy Alternatives
8 The Case for Universal Social Insurance 169
9 The Moral Imperative of Limiting Elderly Health Entitlements 199
10 The Merits of Changing to Defined Contribution Programs 217
11 The Case for Retaining Defined Benefit Programs 236
12 Private Accounts, Prefunding, and Equity Investment under Social Security 266
13 Changing Retirement Trends and Their Impact on Elderly Entitlement Programs 293
14 Aligning Incentives for a National Retirement Policy 316
Pt. IV Political Realities
15 Enacting Reform: What Can We Expect in the Current Political Context? 333
16 The Politics of Enacting Reform 346
17 The Financial Problems of the Elderly: A Holistic View 378
Index 391
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