Austin  Frakt

Austin Frakt

Dr. Austin Frakt is a health economist at Boston University's School of Medicine and School of Public Health. He is also the creator and a primary author of the widely acclaimed and cited health policy blog The Incidental Economist. He studies economic issues pertaining U.S. health care policy with a recent but not exclusive focus on Medicare and the uninsured and has authored numerous peer-reviewed, scholarly publications relevant to health care financing, economics, and policy. Dr. Frakt is a member of the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC), which assess the latest medical evidence to assist New England region practitioners and policymakers in applying it to clinical and coverage decisions.

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BIOGRAPHY

Dr. Frakt is a health economist at Boston University's School of Medicine and School of Public Health and Health. He studies economic issues pertaining U.S. health care policy with a recent but not exclusive focus on Medicare and the uninsured. He has authored numerous peer-reviewed, scholarly publications, many relevant to health care financing, economics, and policy. His papers have appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, Milbank Quarterly, Health Care Financing Review, Health Affairs, Health Economics, International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, among other journals. He has contributed many columns to Kaiser Health News, commentary for the Journal of the American Medical Association's online forum, the New York Times' Room for Debate forum, and has appeared on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.

Dr. Frakt is the creator and one of the primary authors of The Incidental Economist, an an online resource for researchers, journalists, decision-makers, and managers with a mission to translate and disseminate research relevant to health policy. The Incidental Economist has attained high visibility through regular citations by publications and programs including The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, Business Week, CBS, Chicago Tribune, The Economist, Financial Times, The Fiscal Times, Forbes, The Hill, The Huffington Post, Marketplace, Mother Jones, National Public Radio, National Journal, National Review, The New Republic, The New York Times, Politico, The Washington Monthly, The Washington Post, and The Weekly Standard.

Dr. Frakt's translation and dissemination mission extends beyond The Incidental Economist. He is a member of the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC), which is affiliated with the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, Massachusetts General Hospital Institute for Technology Assessment. CEPAC's role is to assess the latest medical evidence to assist New England region practitioners and policymakers in applying it to clinical and coverage decisions. He is also a member of AcademyHealth's Translation and Dissemination Institute Planning Committee. In his role on the committee, Dr. Frakt helps guide the Institute in its pursuit of its three aims: (1) to identify health topics of urgency for policymakers and delivery system leaders; (2) to promote the translation and dissemination of the best health research for the policymakers and health system decision makers; and (3) to advance the science and art of translation and dissemination for policy and practice.

Programs

The Greatest Challenge: The US Health Care Crisis and the Complexities of Reform
It is now common for politicians and pundits to tell us that the US has a debt problem. Proposed solutions to it are all over the map, but one thing any serious solution must have is a focus on health care spending. Using plain language and clear charts from published research, Dr. Frakt, a nationally recognized expert on health policy and economics, will explain the sources of this health care spending problem. He will make plain why it is not just a government or private sector problem, but a systemic one. He will also summarize some of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that are intended to address the issue, and how they, in turn, lead to others. The inevitable conclusion is that the health reform we have achieved cannot be the last one. More, and perhaps different, reforms are needed.

Social Media for Health Care Researchers and Subject Matter Experts
Research translation and dissemination are constant challenges facing health care researchers and subject matter experts. Peer-reviewed journals and reports have long been the primary dissemination vehicle. But relying on these alone means that much of the work from the field can go unnoticed by key stakeholders who don't always know where to look for the evidence they need. To increase the reach and impact of research, it's important to utilize social media for more timely dissemination. Connecting research to current policy issues through blogging or social media strategies can help influence the debate and potentially impact policy outcomes.

Dr. Frakt will explain how to use social media to communicate research to stakeholders—primarily policymakers and media. As the founder of The Incidental Economist blog, he has years of expertise in using of blogging and Twitter for dissemination and knowledge transfer. Participants will gain insight into the influence of health policy blogging, along with the pros and cons of using it as a dissemination strategy.

The Future of Medicare: Premium Support and Structural Reform
Growth in Medicare spending is the principal reason for long-term concern about federal debt. Various proposals to rein Medicare spending have been made recently, including premium support and raising the Medicare eligibility age. In this talk, Dr. Frakt, a widely published expert on Medicare, explains the key aspects of these proposals, how they would and would not address health care spending, and their other advantages and limitations. He concludes with some informed predictions about the future Medicare policy landscape.

Videos

Support Materials

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    "Austin Frakt, tireless impressario of the Incidental Economist, has a remarkable ability to cut through technical complexities and the partisan fog. One of the best in the business, he is an essential voice in health policy."

    - Harold Pollack, Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, and faculty chair of the Center for Health Administration Studies

    "I have heard Austin Frakt speak at a variety of venues with audiences of varying exposure to health policy and knowledge of the health system. In all cases, he successfully conveys complex information in an understandable way, with attention to important detail that is often overlooked by the media. He has a knack for distilling complicated concepts into an informative and entertaining presentation. Dr. Frakt's true strength is his unparalleled knowledge of all things related to the health care system."

    - Assistant Professor of Health Services Administration, University of Maryland College Park



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