Mason Policy Experts Provide Guidance to Government

Posted: August 1, 2013 at 5:00 am, Last Updated: August 5, 2013 at 2:40 pm

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By Michele McDonald

Paul Posner, professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs, recently moderated a panel that discussed government budgeting, which was televised by C-SPAN.

Paul Posner, professor in the Department of Public and International Affairs, recently moderated a panel that discussed government budgeting, which was televised by C-SPAN.

From containing health care costs to challenges in wrangling the federal budget, George Mason University experts are providing crucial guidance on some of government’s stickiest problems.

Paul Posner, director of the George Mason-based Centers on the Public Service in the Department of Public and International Affairs, moderated a panel of policy heavy-hitters for the July 30 event, “Budgeting at the Brink,” which was co-sponsored by George Mason and the Bipartisan Policy Center.

C-SPAN covered the panel discussion in two segments: first segment; second segment.

“The forum held on July 30 by the university’s Centers on the Public Service brought together national political leaders and experts in a fruitful discussion of the fiscal prospects facing the nation,” says Posner, who is the former director for Budget and Intergovernment Issues in the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

“It illustrates the role that our university can play in serving as a neutral platform for deliberation of important issues facing national leaders in difficult times. The forum is part of a broader project dedicated to looking back at our budget history to provide insights for the future,” Posner adds.

The panel included former cabinet secretaries, a former House Committee on Appropriations chairman, a former Senate Budget Committee chairman and other budget veterans. They described their own experiences in coping with budgetary shocks and discussed ways in which agencies can be better prepared to face the challenges of today’s volatile budgets.

Len Nichols. Creative Services photo

Len Nichols, director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics, testified before the Senate Budget Committee on health care costs. Creative Services photo

Over in the Senate on the same day, Len Nichols, director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics, which is based in the College of Health and Human Services, took the microphone on July 30 in a U.S. Senate hearing, “Containing Health Care Costs: Recent Progress and Remaining Challenges.” Nichols’ comments begin about 40 minutes into the hearing.

Nichols criticized the recent threats to shut down the government unless health care reform is defunded, according to Senate testimony.

“To move forward toward solidifying cost growth reduction, which I know both parties support, the charade of repeal and defunding should stop and all of you should get on with the serious business of working together to improve the existing law of the land so that more of our people will be better served,” Nichols told the Senate Budget committee.

Nichols also noted the positive developments in delivery system reforms which could help sustain the current cost trends, noting that “private and public payers are developing congruent incentive structures for clinicians and hospitals, frequently in tandem, that have the potential to link the self-interest of all major health system stakeholders with the social interest in cost growth containment, quality improvement and better health for our population, the triple aim.”

Nichols’ written statement is available here.

Write to Michele McDonald at mmcdon15@gmu.edu

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