In 2008, Emory University received funding from the Foundation to create and support the work of the Center for Entitlement Reform. Under the direction of Dr. Kenneth E. Thorpe, the Center focuses on research and analysis of federal healthcare spending and the development of new policy options to target the true underlying causes of rising healthcare costs.
Over the course of the grant, the Center designed six proposals for reducing costs while improving outcomes within the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Much of the research has been disseminated among healthcare researchers, and Dr. Thorpe continues his outreach to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and to members of Congress as entitlement program spending remains an important item in ongoing budget talks.
The sixth proposal, which focuses on promoting wellness programs within the Medicare system, was featured in the September 2011 issue of Health Affairs. In the article, Dr. Thorpe proposes that expanding a “proven, community-based weight loss program nationwide...could save Medicare $1.8-$2.4 billion over the following ten years.” If all of the Center for Entitlement Reform’s proposals were to be implemented, the potential savings is over $300 billion over 10 years.