50th Anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid Marked by Conference November 6 & 7

A first-of-its kind conference reflecting on the significance of the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid will be held at Yale Law School on November 6 and 7.

The Law of Medicare and Medicaid at 50 is an interdisciplinary gathering of the nation’s leading health law and policy scholars as well as policymakers who have played an instrumental role in designing and implementing these landmark statutes. The event will look at the intersection of law and politics across the two programs and how the statutes changed the legal frameworks, political dynamics, and governmental structures of health in this country. Panelists will also discuss the legal, political, and structural challenges the programs have faced in the past and potential hurdles that could arise in the future.

“Medicare and Medicaid were game changers for health law, politics, and policy because they brought the federal government—which means not only Congress but the federal courts and the executive branch—squarely into the health care arena for the first time,” said Professor of Law Abbe Gluck ’00, who is organizing the conference. “Scholars and policymakers often discuss the policy impact of the two programs, but there has not been sustained reflection on how the legal and political aspects of the programs—and in particular how they changed the roles of Congress, federal agencies, federal courts and relationship between states and the federal government in health care—have shaped the programs and helped or hindered their development.”

The conference will consist of five panels that address questions of federal intervention and the role of government and law in health care. The keynote speakers are Jonathan Cohn, Senior Editor at The New Republic, and Ezekiel J. Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and Chair, Medical Ethics and Health Policy at University of Pennsylvania. For a full list of speakers, click here.

“This is a truly exciting and unprecedented assembly of the nation's leading health law and policy leaders, to reflect on 50 years of these game-changing federal health programs, at the same moment that the next game-changer, the Affordable Care Act celebrates its own, five-year anniversary,” added Gluck. “The speakers come from areas ranging from law to medicine, public health, economics, and the political arena, and include both academics and those working on the ground.”

The conference is sponsored by the Health Law Program at Yale Law School; Yale Health Law and Policy Society; the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics (YJHPLE); Health Affairs; and the National Academy of Social Insurance. Articles related to the presentations will be published in both Health Affairs (online) and the YJHPLE. The National Academy of Social Insurance will be live- tweeting the conference on its website. Funding is provided by the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fund at Yale Law School.