On March 23, 2010, the Affordable Health Care Act became law in the United States. Under the measure, people who have been denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition, and who have been uninsured for at least six months, may qualify to buy insurance. In this panel discussion at Stanford University, experts from medical and public health fields offer opinions on the new law. They consider how it came to be, its short- and long-term consequences, cost issues involved, and its controversial aspects, including how, for many, it serves as an imperfect start for reforming America’s health care system.

Alain Enthoven is the Marriner S. Eccles Professor of Public and Private Management, Emeritus, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, and a core faculty member at CHP/PCOR. Known as the “father of managed competition,” he was one of the founders of the Jackson Hole Group, a national think-tank on health care policy. His research focuses on the financing and delivery of health care in the United States and other industrialized nations, and cost-benefit analysis in medical care. In his numerous publications he has advocated a financially integrated health care delivery system that relies on market-based incentives to reduce medical costs and increase economic accountability and quality of care. He is currently working on a proposal for a “Market-based Universal Health Insurance System,” being developed for the Committee for Economic Development.

Alan Garber is the Henry J. Kaiser Jr. Professor at Stanford University, where he is also a professor of medicine, economics, and of health research and policy, and of economics (by courtesy) in the Stanford Graduate School of Business. He is a senior fellow (by courtesy) at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. He has been director of both the University’s Center for Health Policy and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research at the School of Medicine since their founding. Garber is a staff physician at the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System and associate director of the VA Center for Health Care Evaluation. His research is directed toward methods for improving health care delivery and financing, particularly for the elderly, in settings of limited resources.

Daniel Kessler is the David S. and Ann M. Barlow Professor in Management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, a professor of law (by courtesy) at Stanford Law School, and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His research interests include empirical studies in antitrust law, law and economics, and the economics of health care. His recent work focuses on the consequences of hospital mergers and hospital ownership (nonprofit versus for-profit) for the cost and quality of medical care. His new book, Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Five Steps to a Better Health Care System (with John Cogan and R. Glenn Hubbard), outlines how market-based health care reform in the United States can help fix our system’s current problems. Currently, he is investigating how to use medical claims data to identify the types of health care providers that are likely to commit Medicare fraud and abuse.

Philip A. Pizzo became dean of the Stanford School of Medicine in April 2001. Before joining Stanford, he was the physician-in-chief of Children’s Hospital in Boston and chair of the department of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Pizzo is recognized for his contributions as a clinical investigator, especially in the treatment of children with cancer and HIV. He devoted much of his distinguished medical career to the diagnosis, management, prevention, and treatment of childhood cancers, and the infectious complications that occur in children whose immune systems are compromised by cancer and AIDS. He and his research team pioneered the development of new treatments for children with HIV infection, lengthening and improving the quality of life for children with this disease. His research soon led to important clues about how to treat HIV-positive children and adults, and how to manage life-threatening infections. Pizzo is the author of more than 500 scientific articles and 14 books.