October 25, 2011

A Sustainable Approach to Entitlement Reform

Charles Blahous

J. Fish and Lillian F. Smith Chair

Jason J. Fichtner

Former Senior Research Fellow

Any credible plan to significantly improve the nation's fiscal outlook must address the greatest drivers of future debt: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. But while the need for entitlement reform is no longer in question, policy makers are far from consensus on how, or even when, to begin.

This discussion focuses on the following questions:

  • What is the current fiscal status and projected outlook of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security? 
  • What are the stakes for current and future beneficiaries? Current and future taxpayers? 
  • What are the fundamental drivers of each program’s fiscal problems, and what is driving confusion about the programs’ fiscal situations? When and how should reform begin? 
  • What are the possible reform plans for each program? Should we take a comprehensive or piecemeal approach?

Featured speakers include Jason Fichtner, Charles Blahous, Robert Reischauer, and Alice M. Rivlin.