During the past 100 years, life expectancy at birth has increased by about 25 years in the United States. However, in sharp contrast to this broader trend, certain demographics—notably older whites and low-income Americans—find their mortality rates either stagnating or rising. This increase is associated with a troubling rise in suicides, alcohol abuse, and illegal drug use—with illegal drug use in particular becoming relatively more common among low-income men. Many observers agree that an evaluation of our nation’s existing policies, ranging from physical and mental health care access to prescription drug monitoring programs, is necessary to ensure that more Americans can benefit from increased life expectancy and enhanced economic security.
On June 29, The Hamilton Project at Brookings hosted a policy forum addressing trends in American life expectancy, including the recent life expectancy divergence for certain demographics. Opening remarks will be delivered by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin, followed by framing remarks from Anne Case, Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs; Director, Research Program in Development Studies (RPDS), Princeton University.
Following the framing remarks, a panel discussion will explore policy options that could extend life expectancy gains for more Americans. Panelists will include: Nobel Laureate Angus S. Deaton, Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of International Affairs; Professor of Economics and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University; David Cutler, Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics, Harvard University; Mark McClellan, director of the Robert J. Margolis Center for Health Policy, Duke University; James S. Marks, executive vice president, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and Gary Burtless, The John C. and Nancy D. Whitehead Chair; senior fellow, The Brookings Institution. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, director, The Hamilton Project; senior fellow, The Brookings Institution, will moderate the discussion.
In conjunction with this event, The Hamilton Project will release a new framing paper on the evolution of life expectancy and opportunities to consolidate and extend life expectancy gains.
2:00 PM Welcome and Introductions
Robert E. Rubin
Co-Chair, Council on Foreign Relations;
Former U.S. Treasury Secretary
2:10 PM Framing Remarks: Emerging Trends in American Life Expectancy
Discussant: Anne Case
Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of Economics and Public Affairs; Director, Research Program in Development Studies (RPDS), Princeton University
2:40 PM Roundtable: Harnessing Public Policy to Increase Life Expectancy for All Americans
Discussant: Gary Burtless
The John C. and Nancy D. Whitehead Chair; Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
Discussant: David Cutler
Otto Eckstein Professor of Applied Economics, Harvard University
Discussant: Angus S. Deaton
Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of International Affairs; Professor of Economics and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
Discussant: James S. Marks
Executive Vice President, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Discussant: Mark B. McClellan
Director of the Robert J. Margolis Center for Health Policy; Margolis Professor of Business, Medicine and Health Policy, Duke University
Moderator: Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach
Director, The Hamilton Project; Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution