Moderator Biography

Susan Dentzer is the editor-in-chief of Health Affairs, the nation’s leading journal of health policy, and an on-air health analyst with The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. Dentzer assumed the job of editor-in-chief on May 1, 2008, after a decade as the on-air health correspondent for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

At The NewsHour, Dentzer was the recipient of multiple awards. In 2007, she received the American Society on Aging National Media Award for a two-part series on our current understanding of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease, efforts under way to speed treatments to patients and the enormous burden faced by caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients. The unit's December 2005 and April 2005 pieces, "Wounded Soldier" and "Wounded Warrior," about a paralyzed and brain damaged soldier who was severely wounded in Iraq, won the 2005 Award for Excellence in Health Care Journalism from the Association of Health Care Journalists.

Prior to joining The NewsHour in 1998, Dentzer was chief economics correspondent and economics columnist for U.S. News & World Report, where she served from 1987 to 1997. Before joining U.S. News, Dentzer was at Newsweek, where she was a senior writer covering business news until 1987.

A graduate of Dartmouth, Dentzer holds an honorary Master of Arts degree from Dartmouth and an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Muskingum College, New Concord, Ohio. She is a member of the Board of Overseers of Dartmouth Medical School.

Panelist Biographies

U.S. Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D (R-TX), a resident of Lewisville, TX worked as a doctor in Denton County for over 21 years.   A respected physician of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Lewisville, Dr. Burgess delivered more than 3000 babies in North Texas before heading to Congress in 2003.

Since his election, Congressman Burgess has pushed a long list of legislative priorities including modernizing America’s health care system, building a strong defense, protecting our Homeland, cutting wasteful government spending, reforming the tax code, and making America energy self-sufficient.

Congressman Michael Burgess serves as a member of the prestigious House Energy and Commerce Committee which is one of only three exclusive committees in the House of Representatives.  Congressman Burgess sits on four subcommittees: Health, Energy, Oversight and Investigations, and Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection.

In addition, Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. is Vice Chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee which serves as a formal council to formulate and implement national legislative priorities, and to improve relationships between the executive and legislative branches of government.

R. Bruce Josten, executive vice president for government affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is the organization’s senior government and political affairs executive. He manages five major divisions: Congressional and Public Affairs; Economic Policy; Environment, Technology and Regulatory Affairs; Labor, Immigration and Employee Benefits; and Political and Federation Relations.
Josten is considered one of American business’ most effective strategists in the ongoing battle with the trial lawyer lobby. He served as co-chair of the Coalition to Save Medicare and is sought after as one of the most knowledgeable and articulate pro-business advocates in the health care debate.
Josten is the key architect of the U.S. Chamber’s resurgent position as leader of the business community’s policy and grassroots activities in the 104th through the 109th Congresses. In the 104th Congress, when House and Senate leaders sought a prominent figure in the business community to head their balanced budget coalition — the key agenda item in the battle against big government — they turned to Josten and the Chamber. His persistent efforts resulted in the passage of the first balanced budget in 29 years and the first tax cut in 16 years.

Chris Jennings is a 25-year veteran of health policy for Congress, the White House and the private sector. He is president of Jennings Policy Strategies, a nationally-respected health policy and advocacy consulting firm in Washington. 

Jennings is co-director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s health reform project with former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Baker, Daschle, Dole and Mitchell. Earlier in 2008, he also served on the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee and as a senior health care advisor to Senator Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. He provides policy analysis, strategic guidance and coalition building services to clients who share a commitment to affordable, accessible and accountable health care.

Prior to founding JPS, Inc., Jennings served in the White House as the senior health care advisor to President William J. Clinton at the Domestic Policy and National Economic Councils. As the president’s senior health policy advisor, he was charged with developing and implementing the administration’s health care policy. In this capacity, Jennings coordinated and oversaw the health policy work of numerous federal agencies, including the Office of Management and Budget and the Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor. Recognizing his work at the White House, the National Journal designated Jennings as one of Washington’s 100 most influential individuals throughout the entire federal government.

Before joining the Clinton administration in 1993, Jennings spent almost a decade serving as a congressional health care advisor on committee staff for three U.S. Senators (Glenn, Melcher, and Pryor).

David L. Levy, M.D. joined PricewaterhouseCoopers in 2005. He currently leads the strategy development and implementation for the domestic health industries practice, the health care information technology initiative, and the health care emergency preparedness effort.

Levy's interests and experience in health care have mainly focused on solving complex problems with a patient-centered point of view. He has more than 25 years experience as a practicing primary care physician, epidemiologist, occupational health and quality consultant, and successful health care executive. Levy is a nationally recognized patient advocate, author and speaker.

Levy began his career as a primary care physician in 1983 in Bergen County, NJ. He led and grew a primary care group practice that was recognized by leading payers and patients as exemplary, and served as a quality consultant to employers and insurers. As a consultant, he was the founding medical Director of CIGNA Healthplan of New York and Northern New Jersey, with responsibility for provider relations, utilization management and clinical quality.

In 1992 Levy created Franklin Health, Inc., a care management company dedicated to the needs of the complex patient. Franklin gained national recognition as an innovator in the management of severely ill patients, many of whom had terminal diagnoses. He led the company through both a merger and divestiture with Corning, Inc. and transitioned the client base successfully towards large payers. In 2003 Franklin Health/PersonalPath Systems merged with ParadigmHealth, and today the company continues to provide these services for many large markets and insurers, including California. 

Alice M. Rivlin is a visiting professor at the Public Policy Institute of Georgetown University and a senior fellow in the Economic Studies Program at Brookings. She directs Brookings Greater Washington Research. Before returning to Brookings, Rivlin served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board (1996-99). She was director of the White House Office of Management and Budget in the first Clinton Administration. She also chaired the District of Columbia Financial Management Assistance Authority.

Rivlin was the founding director of the Congressional Budget Office (1975-83). She was director of the Economic Studies Program at Brookings. She also served at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation. Rivlin received a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship, taught at Harvard, George Mason and The New School Universities, has served on the Boards of Directors of several corporations, and as president of the American Economic Association. She is currently a member of the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange.

She is a frequent contributor to newspapers, television and radio, and is currently a regular commentator on Nightly Business Report. Her books include Systematic Thinking for Social Action (l971), Reviving the American Dream (1992) and Beyond the Dot.coms (with Robert Litan, 2001). She is co-editor of the Restoring Fiscal Sanity series including Restoring Fiscal Sanity 2007: The Health Spending Challenge (with Joseph Antos).

Rivlin received a B.A. in economics from Bryn Mawr College; and a Ph.D. from Radcliffe College (Harvard University) in economics 1958.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) has been standing up for Oregon since 1980 in the House of Representatives and in the U.S. Senate since 1996. His involvement in health care issues began in 1974 when Wyden helped found the Oregon Gray Panthers, and that has grown throughout his nearly 28-year service in Congress. Today Wyden serves on the Senate Finance Committee as well as on the Special Committee on Aging.

As a member of the House of Representatives, Wyden was a leading author of the first federal law, Medigap, to protect seniors from Medicare insurance scams. In what proved to be a major breakthrough for women fighting cancer, Wyden uncovered wasteful harvesting practices for the Pacific yew, a so-called “trash tree,” and set in place regulations to save it. The Pacific yew would later become the original source of the pharmaceutical Taxol, a key weapon to help patients battling cancer, including lung, breast and ovarian cancers.

In 2006, Wyden proposed the first major bipartisan health care reform legislation in more than a decade, the Healthy Americans Act, which guarantees quality, affordable, portable health coverage for every single American. The bill has been analyzed by numerous budget analysts including the Congressional Budget Office, which determined that as a health care solution, the Healthy Americans Act would not only guarantee that every American has health coverage, it would generate revenue surpluses after its first year.

Edwin K. Zechman, Jr. joined the executive management staff of Children’s National Medical Center in September 1994 as president and chief executive officer.  His experiences include holding the positions of president and chief executive officer of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, executive director of the Children’s Hospital of Alabama and executive director of the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans. 

Zechman is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a delegate on the Regional Policy Board of the American Hospital Association.  Zechman is a past chairman of the board of the District of Columbia Hospital Association and past chairman of the board of the Child Health Corporation of American. He is the chairman of the NACHRI board of trustees. 

Zechman received Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from Shippensburg State College, and a Master of Science degree from Ohio State University. Zechman and his wife, Denise, have two adult children.