Medicare Solvency Projections and Potential Policy Solutions

Jonathan (Jon) Blum, MPP, is a vice president & managing director, Medicare at Health Management Associates (HMA). He has more than 20 years of senior-level experience working in public and private healthcare financing organizations, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). From 2009-2014, Jon had direct responsibility for administration of the Medicare program, leading the development and implementation of many of the cost-reduction and delivery system improvements that remain in place today and have been adopted by an array of public and private healthcare organizations. These reforms include fundamental changes to the Medicare Advantage program that accelerated its rapid growth, the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program, bundled-payment initiatives, value-based purchasing, new competitive bid pricing systems, and improvements to the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. Under Jon’s leadership, the Medicare program experienced its lowest sustained period of overall spending and premium growth. He also directed the release of unprecedented levels of Medicare data to make the program more transparent and accountable to the public. Before joining HMA, Jon was an executive vice president at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, overseeing its medical policies, pharmacy benefit, provider networks, and care coordination programs. Earlier in his career, he served on the professional staff of the Senate Finance Committee during development and passage of the Medicare prescription drug benefit, a Medicare budget analyst at the White House Office of Management and Budget, and an executive at Avalere Health. Jon is active on many non-profit boards and health policy advisory councils. He is a graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he earned a master’s degree in public policy, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Contact: jblum@healthmanagement.com

Adaeze Enekwechi, Ph.D., is a healthcare executive and leading voice in health policy including payment, equity and evidence-based policy making. She is committed to building a health care system that evolves beyond its current piecemeal, short-term approach to big solutions that meaningfully improve access to equitable, value-driven health care for all Americans. Dr. Enekwechi most recently served as the President of IMPAQ, a policy research and implementation company focused on health, workforce, and advanced analytics. She successfully led the company through an M&A process and successful acquisition in May 2020. In her role as President, she provided strategic oversight of all research, technical assistance, and advanced analytics services across all policy and program areas at IMPAQ. She also led the organization’s work on health equity, advancing ideas and engagement with policymakers, payers, and providers to meaningfully improve quality, costs, and outcomes. She served as the head of Health Programs at the White House Office of Management and Budget under President Obama, where she provided policy, management, and regulatory oversight for over $1.6 trillion in spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and a range of programs across all federal health agencies. The agencies and oversight areas under her authority included the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, where she directed the development of several key Medicare and Medicaid payment and delivery system reform initiatives through the Innovation Center. She also had primary responsibility for all operating divisions under the Department of Health and Human Services such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Enekwechi led OMB’s policy and spending negotiations for Medicaid demonstrations and Sec. 1115 waivers, major public health crises such as the US response to Zika virus, Flint water crisis, and several other public health crises and challenges. Dr. Enekwechi is highly experienced with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) implementation, playing a key role in driving ACA budget, policy, strategy, and operational coordination with various agencies, including the Department of Treasury, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Office of Personnel Management, among others. She has also served in executive leadership positions at consulting firms where she led the evaluation of Medicare payment policies, helped private equity companies review healthcare marketplaces and companies, and led the use of advanced analytics to support healthcare policy implementation. Dr. Enekwechi completed a BA at the University of Iowa, an MPP at the American University, and a PhD in Health Services and Policy from the University of Iowa. She completed postdoctoral training at the University of Chicago. Her research area covers the aging population and Medicare, health equity for vulnerable populations, and evidence-based policymaking. Dr. Enekwechi is a Research Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University. Her teaching focuses on federal health policy, the US health care infrastructure, health equity, and evidence-based policymaking. She also serves on the boards of directors and advisors for several private and nonprofit health care organizations. She is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. in Montgomery County, MD.

Contact: aenekwechi@gmail.com

Gretchen Jacobson, Ph.D., joined the Commonwealth Fund in 2020 as the vice president of the Medicare Program. In this role, she is responsible for developing strategy and program plans for advancing Medicare initiatives, understanding and maintaining a view of developments and policy initiatives within the Medicare program, as well as identifying and working with prospective grantees to improve project design on the development of new projects. Prior to joining the Fund, Gretchen was at the Kaiser Family Foundation, where she served as Associate Director of the organization’s Program on Medicare Policy. Her research and knowledge have made Gretchen a nationally recognized expert in the field. Her work has appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine and Health Affairs, as well as other peer-reviewed journals. She has provided expert testimony before Congress and has been quoted as an expert by national and local media outlets. Prior to joining the Kaiser Family Foundation, Dr. Jacobson was an analyst in health care financing at the Congressional Research Service, serving as an expert resource for Congress. She also previously held positions where she directed research on the market value of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and health insurance. Gretchen holds a doctorate (Ph.D.) in health economics from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a master’s degree in (S.M.) epidemiology from the Harvard School of Public Health. She received a bachelor’s degree (B.A.) in economics from Tufts University.

Contact: gj@cmwf.org

Cori Uccello, MAAA, FSA, MPP, is an actuary and the senior health fellow at the American Academy of Actuaries. She serves as the actuarial profession’s chief public policy liaison on health issues. In this role, she promotes the formulation of sound health policy by providing nonpartisan technical assistance to federal and state policymakers and regulators. Ms. Uccello helped lead the Academy’s efforts to provide guidance to federal and state regulators regarding the implementation of various provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including those related to coverage and market reforms, actuarial value, and risk-sharing mechanisms. Her current work focuses on examining the implications of alternative coverage approaches and proposals to stabilize the market. She served two terms as a commissioner on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and was a member of the 2010-2011 Technical Review Panel of the Medicare Trustees Report. She is a graduate of Boston College and received a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University.

Contact: uccello@actuary.org