case western reserve university



Public Affairs Discussion Group

"Medical Markets and Health Savings Accounts"

Febraury 3, 2006
Toepfer Room, Adelbert Hall

12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

J. B. Silvers, Ph.D.

Elizabeth M. and William C. Treuhaft Professor of Health Systems Management at Case Western Reserve University


Dear Colleagues:

President Bush’s proposed answer to America’s healthcare financing mess is to encourage people to switch from traditional insurance to Health Savings Accounts. In his State of the Union Address he argued that HSAs should be made available to more Americans than they are today. The idea sounds sensible – who could be against health, or savings, or choice? But within the health policy world, it is extremely controversial.

In spite of all the controversy about the Medicare drug benefit, some health policy experts think the provisions in the 2003 Medicare legislation that sought to encourage people to switch to HSAs are far more important. If widely adopted, what would be the effect of HSAs? And will they be widely adopted? Changes in the kind of insurance people have depend in part on law and in part on market behavior. HMOs spread rapidly only many years after the federal government, in 1973, began trying to encourage their spread. That last revolution in health insurance began with employers and then employees changing their behavior in the medical insurance marketplace. Has the next revolution in health insurance begun?

We are fortunate to have on campus one of the best people in the country to discuss that question. J.B. Silvers is the Treuhaft Professor of Health Systems Management and Faculty Director of the Health Systems Management Center at the Weatherhead School. In addition to his publication and teaching, J.B. has been a member of the Congressional body overseeing Medicare payment policies and served as CEO of QualChoice, the insurance plan affiliated with University Hospitals. J.B. has been studying the adoption of HSAs by employers and employees, and will lead the discussion on Friday, February 3 about Medical Markets and Health Savings Accounts.

As usual, the discussion is open to all, cookies and beverages are provided courtesy of the Office of University Communications, and we will meet in the Toepfer Room of Adelbert Hall from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m

Joseph White, Ph.D.
Luxenberg Family Professor and Chair
Department of Political Science
Director, Center for Policy Studies
Case Western Reserve University
Mather House 111
11201 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland OH 44106-7109
(216) 368-2426

More About Our Guest

J. B. Silvers, Ph.D., the Elizabeth M. and William C. Treuhaft Professor of Health Systems Management serves as Faculty Director of the HSMC and holds a joint appointment in Epidemiology and Biostatics in the School of Medicine. Prof. Silvers served as a Commissioner on the Prospective Payment Assessment Commission (ProPAC the predecessor of MedPAC), as well as other state and federal commissions. He recently joined the board of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.

Dr. Silvers' research in the areas of financial management and health services has been published in the Journal of Finance, the Journal of the American Medical Association, Health Services Research and many others. Recent work deals with the growth hormone market and decisions to initiate and end treatment, merger and acquisition activity and the impact in health institutions, health insurance, quality and alternative payment methods, capital needs and financing in health care. Recent funding has come from NIH and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Silver's complete Bio can be found here.

Spring Semester Schedule

January 27: Iraq and Vietnam: Some Questions. Joe White will try to provoke discussion in response to Professor George Herring’s talk on January 24, and in anticipation of the programs on January 30, February 1, and February 2.

February 3: Medical Markets and Health Savings Accounts. J.B. Silvers,
Treuhaft Professor of Health Systems Management, will discuss the new thing that could have a big effect on health insurance – and it’s not the Medicare drug plans.

February 10: The Law and “Animal Rights.” Katherine M. Hessler
, Professor of Law.

February 17: Seeds of Democracy in China? Developments in Local Government. Forrest Qingshan Tan
, Professor of Political Science, Cleveland State University.

February 24: Discussion of the History of Case Western Reserve University. Dick Baznik
, Director of Case’s Institute for the Study of the University in Society. In the Guilford Lounge.

March 3: Turkey: Informal Observations on Education, Society, Politics, and the Price of Yakut. John Grabowski, Krieger-Mueller
Associate Professor of Applied History and Director of Research, Western Reserve Historical Society.

March 10: Bird Flu. Thomas M. Daniel
, Professor Emeritus of Medicine.

March 17: Break Week

March 24: Robots and Emotions. Wyatt Newman
, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

March 31: Sticks, Stones, and Domain Names: The Policy Stakes in Who Controls Internet Addresses. Jacqueline Lipton
, Associate Professor of Law and Associate Director, Frederick K. Cox International Law Center.

April 7: The Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Disposal Controversy. Joe H. Payer
, Professor of Materials Science & Engineering and Director, Department of Energy Corrosion and Materials Performance Cooperative.

April 14: How Environmental Regulations Fragment Gasoline Markets. Andy Morriss
, Galen J. Roush Professor of Business Law and Regulation.

April 21: Downsizing and Disability. Mark Votruba
, Assistant Professor of Economics.

April 28: Lawn-O-Rama: Coming to Terms With an American Obsession. Ted Steinberg
, Professor of History and Law.

Parking: For those people who seek to make special arrangements about parking, the contact person now will be Fay Alexander.  Her phone number is 368-4440, and her e-mail is

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