Press Advisory

Health Issues in the 2006 Election

What It Means for the Future

Washington, DC – An issue beneath the surface of public concerns in the 2006 election is health care. The cost of health insurance has skyrocketed, with premiums rising by 87 percent since 2000. Health costs may eclipse profits in Fortune 500 companies by the year 2008. And, the number of people lacking any type of health coverage has grown. Nearly 47 million Americans are uninsured – more than the population of the entire West Coast. Yet, major health reform has been off the table since 1994 – the year that President Clinton failed to enact sweeping changes. Early polling from key 2006 races, however, suggests that public interest is rising and that public policy may follow.

The panel will discuss the salience of health issues in the 2006 midterm election, and explore what this may mean for policy in the future. Celinda Lake will present results from exit polling on this issue in key House and Senate races. This leading set of strategists, activists, and scholars will examine health care’s significance to voters and health policy in 2006 and beyond.

Please click here to RSVP for this Event.

Featured Participants:
Celinda Lake, President, Lake Research Partners
John Rother, Director of Policy and Strategy, AARP
Anna Burger, Secretary-Treasurer, Service Employees International Union, CLC
Joseph Antos, PhD, Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy, American Enterprise Institute

Moderated by:
Jeanne Lambrew
, Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy, The George Washington University Medical Center and Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress

Thursday, November 09, 2006
Program: 2 – 3:30pm
Admission is free.

The George Washington University Media and Public Affairs Building, The Jack Morton Auditorium
805 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052
Maps and Directions

Nearest Metro: Blue/Orange Line to Foggy Bottom/GWU

Celinda Lake is one of the nation’s leading political strategists, serving as tactician and senior advisor to the national party committees, dozens of Democratic incumbents and challengers at all levels of the electoral process. Her work also took her to advise fledgling democratic parties in several post-war Eastern European countries, including Bosnia, and South Africa. Lake and her firm are known for cutting edge research on issues including the economy, health care, the environment and education, and have worked for a number of institutions including the Democratic National Committee (DNC), the Democratic Governor’s Association (DGA), The White House Project, America Coming Together, AFL-CIO, SEIU, CWA, IAFF, Sierra Club, Planned Parenthood, Human Rights Campaign, Emily’s List and the Kaiser Foundation. Prior to forming Lake Research Partners, Lake was partner and vice president at Greenberg-Lake. Her earlier experience includes serving as political director of the Women’s Campaign Fund, and as the Research Director at the Institute for Social Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Policy Analyst for the Subcommittee on Select Education. Lake, a native of Montana and one of the political world’s most avid whitewater rafters, holds a Masters degree in Political Science and Survey Research from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and a certificate in political science from the University of Geneva, in Geneva, Switzerland. Lake received her undergraduate degree from Smith College in Massachusetts, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude with honors and was recently awarded the Distinguished Alumna Medal by the College.

John Rother is the Group Executive Officer of Policy and Strategy for AARP. He is responsible for the federal and state public policies of the Association, for international initiatives, and for formulating AARP’s overall strategic direction. He is an authority on Medicare, managed care, long-term care, Social Security, pensions and the challenges facing the boomer generation. Prior to coming to AARP in 1984, Mr. Rother served eight years with the U.S. Senate as Special Counsel for Labor and Health to former Senator Jacob Javits (R-NY), then as Staff Director and Chief Counsel for the Special Committee on Aging under its Chairman, Senator John Heinz (R-PA). He serves on several Boards and Commissions, including Generations United, the National Health Care Quality Forum, the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, National Academy on Aging, and Civic Ventures. John Rother is an honors graduate of Oberlin College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Anna Burger a longtime political strategist and campaign coordinator, Burger directs SEIU’s political and field operations, including its unprecedented 2004 election program—the largest mobilization by any single organization in the history of U.S. politics. During this cycle, SEIU raised more member dollars than any other union, making SEIU’s PAC the largest in the labor movement. She also played a major role in bringing about the historic 1998 merger with District 1199 New York—an affiliation that solidified SEIU as the leading union of health care workers in North America. Today, SEIU represents nearly 900,000 nurses, doctors, and other caregivers. Breaking with tradition is nothing new for Burger; in the 1980s as a young activist, she played a significant role in SEIU’s recognition of women’s choice as a key issue for health care workers. Throughout her career, she has worked to ensure that SEIU’s commitment to helping women, immigrants, and people of color move into leadership positions is a reality. SEIU today is the most diverse union in America, with a leadership that reflects the strength of that diversity – over half of SEIU members are represented by local unions led by women or people of color. Burger began her career in 1972 as a Pennsylvania state caseworker and union activist in SEIU Local 668. She rose through the ranks to become its first female full-time president before moving on to run the state’s political field operations and to become SEIU’s national director of field operations. She has been an active delegate to the Democratic National Convention since 1984 and has worked on the party’s platform. She resides in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Earl F. Gohl, Jr. Their daughter, Erin Burger Gohl, attends Smith College.

Joseph Antos is the Wilson H. Taylor Scholar in Health Care and Retirement Policy at AEI. He is also a Commissioner of the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission, and an Adjunct Professor at the School of Public Health of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before joining AEI, Antos was Assistant Director for Health and Human Resources at the Congressional Budget Office. At AEI, Antos’s research focuses on the economics of health policy, including Medicare reform, health insurance regulation, and the uninsured. He has written and spoken extensively on the Medicare drug benefit and has led a team of experienced independent actuaries and cost estimators in a study to evaluate various proposals to extend health coverage to the uninsured. Antos also writes for AEI’s Health Policy Outlook series.

Jeanne Lambrew is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and an associate professor at The George Washington University where she teaches health policy and conducts policy-relevant research on the uninsured, Medicaid, Medicare, and long-term care. Lambrew worked on health policy at the White House from 1997 through 2001, as the program associate director for health at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and as the senior health analyst at the National Economic Council. In these roles, she helped coordinate health policy development, evaluated legislative proposals, and conducted and managed analyses and cost estimates with OMB, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Treasury Department, the Labor Department and other relevant agencies. She was the White House lead on drafting and implementing the Children’s Health Insurance Program and helped develop the president’s Medicare reform plan, initiative on long-term care, and other health care proposals. She also worked at the Department of Health and Human Services during the 1993-1994 health reform efforts, and coordinated analyses of budget proposals in 1995. Prior to serving at the White House, Lambrew was an assistant professor of public policy at Georgetown University (1996). She received her masters and Ph.D. from the Department of Health Policy, School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and bachelor’s degree from Amherst College. The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. We work to find progressive and pragmatic solutions to significant domestic and international problems and develop policy proposals that foster a government that is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” The School of Public Health and Health Services is part of The George Washington University Medical Center, an internationally recognized interdisciplinary academic health center that has consistently provided high quality clinical care, education and research in the Washington, DC metropolitan area for more than 176 years. Information about SPHHS is available online at