WMU News

Modernizing Medicare for the next century topic of lecture

Feb. 29, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- An expert on Medicare will discuss what it will take to bring the federal health care insurance program into the next century in a lecture at Western Michigan University Wednesday, March 15.

Dr. Len M. Nichols, principal research associate at the Urban Institute, a Washington, D.C. economic and social policy research organization, will address "Modernizing Medicare for the 21st Century," at 3 p.m. in Room 3508 of Knauss Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Nichols' presentation is part of WMU's Department of Economics 1999-2000 Guest Lecture-Seminar Series, "The Economics of Health Care," and is co-sponsored by WMU's College of Arts and Sciences and the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. The series, which began in September and runs through April, examines critical issues affecting the health care industry.

Nichols is a member of the Competitive Pricing Advisory Commission for the U.S. Medicare program and a consultant to the World Bank and the Pan American Health Organization. He is also a member of technical advisory panels for the Health Resources and Service Administration and the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. Prior to coming to the Urban Institute, he was the senior adviser for health policy at the Office of Management and Budget, working for President Clinton's Health Security Act and its legislative successors. Nichols has been a visiting Public Health Service Fellow at the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research and he worked at Wellesley College as an associate professor and chairperson of the economics department. He received his doctoral degree in economics from the University of Illinois.

Nichols conducts research on topics including insurance market regulation, the effect of tax policy on health insurance purchase decisions and private insurance options for Medicare. He has published numerous articles and book chapters, inlcuding "Competitive Pricing by Medicare's Private Health Plans: Be Careful What You Wish For," published in "Competition with Constraints: Challenges Facing Medicare Reform"; and "Managing the Medicare Health Insurance Market for Beneficiaries and Taxpayers," published in "Medicare in the 21st Century: Seeking Fair and Efficient Reform."

For more information, contact Dr. Huizhong Zhou, associate professor of economics, at (616) 387-5550 or the Department of Economics at (616) 387-5535.

Media contact: Marie Lee, 616 387-8400, marie.lee@wmich.edu

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