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News, Research and Events from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy
Baker Institute Update: The Miracle of Leipzig; Roundtable Dialogue with Vivian Ho
Oct. 24, 2014: In this edition
The Miracle of Leipzig

In October 1989, over 70,000 citizens gathered in the East German city of Leipzig to peacefully protest for freedom, civil rights and democracy — and unknowingly paved the way for the fall of the Berlin Wall a month later. The Baker Institute will recognize this historic demonstration at a special retrospective of the 25th anniversary of the end of the Cold War on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 4:30 p.m.

The program will begin with a brief performance by musicians of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, followed by highlights from “The Miracle of Leipzig,” a film that documents the protest that changed the course of history. A panel discussion will feature insights from Todd Becker, a former U.S. diplomat who was sent to Leipzig and tasked with setting up the first new American consulate in the former Eastern Bloc; Peter C. Caldwell, a Rice University professor specializing in modern German history; and Rainer Eckert, a professor from Leipzig who lived in East Berlin when the wall came down. After a question-and-answer session, the evening will conclude with a reception.
 
The event is a prelude to a Nov. 3, 2014, performance by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra at the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, presented by the Houston Symphony and the Houston-Leipzig Sister City Association in conjunction with the City of Houston and the German Consulate General in Houston. The concert marks the first performance of a five-city tour of the United States to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany. Former President George H.W. Bush and former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III, are the honorary chairs of the Houston performance. For tickets and more information about the concert, please visit www.houstonsymphony.org or call 713.224.7575.
 
What: The Miracle of Leipzig
When: Sunday, Nov. 2, 2014, 4:30 p.m.
Where: Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy
 
The public is invited to attend at no charge, but an RSVP is required. Click here to reserve a seat and register for the event.
 
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Roundtable Dialogue with Vivian Ho


Vivian Ho (second from left) talks with Roundtable members Janet Moore, Stanley Beyer and Robert L. Clarke before her presentation

Roundtable members recently gathered at the Baker Institute to hear Vivian Ho, James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics, discuss "The Affordable Care Act: Is Health Care Becoming More Affordable?” during an exclusive Roundtable Dialogue.
 
Ho presented findings from a joint study conducted with The Episcopal Health Foundation. Results showed that for the previously uninsured, health care is becoming more affordable through state-based marketplaces or in states that elected to expand Medicaid. Although large employers are now required to pay fees associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), their employees are seeing a slowdown in their premium growth. Workers covered by small employers are paying higher premiums, although there is no good estimate of how much the premiums will rise or which small firms will offer coverage to workers. Finally, for the taxpayer, the ACA is estimated to be deficit-reducing in the long run, but health care continues to consume an increasing portion of the federal budget.
 
In a comparison of marketplace plans subsidized by the ACA with employer-provided benefits, Ho noted that insurance plans provided by employers in 2013 were more costly, but they also gave consumers access to larger networks of physicians and hospital providers. Because insurers are still negotiating with doctors and hospitals, she said, marketplace plans will continue to be less generous in accessibility, but the cost to the consumer will be lower.
 
Publications related to Ho’s research on the Affordable Care Act may be viewed here
 
Roundtable Dialogues are one of many benefits that members enjoy, along with free admission to ticketed events like the Founding Director's Lecture Series, free event parking and other opportunities not available to the public. For more information about joining the Roundtable, click here or contact Vince McElligott at 713.348.2923 or email vmcelligott@rice.edu.
 
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Upcoming Events
  • The Shale Revolution: What Do We Know Now and Where Are We Going? The Center for Energy Studies will host a conference to discuss the shale revolution and its economic and policy implications. 8:30 am October 30
  • The Miracle of Leipzig. This retrospective of the 25th anniversary of the end of the Cold War will include an excerpt from a film on a historic demonstration in Leipzig, Germany, that paved the way for the fall of the Berlin Wall. The event is a prelude to a Nov. 3, 2014, performance by the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra at the Jesse H. Jones Hall for the Performing Arts, presented by the Houston Symphony and the Houston-Leipzig Sister City Association in conjunction with the City of Houston and the German Consulate General in Houston. Former President George H.W. Bush and former Secretary of State James A. Baker, III, are the honorary chairs for the Houston performance. 4:30 pm November 2
  • Unbundling Mexico's Telecommunications Sector: Reform, Investment and Digital Democracy. This panel discussion aims to provide industry leaders, policymakers, academics and the public with the opportunity to engage with leading experts in the telecommunications field about the impact of Mexico’s 2014 reforms. 11:30 am November 10
  • Is Texas Ready for Medical Marijuana? A discussion of the therapeutic promise and legislative possibility for medical marijuana in Texas will feature a physician, a Baker Institute drug policy expert, a veteran Texas legislator and other experts. 6:30 pm November 12
  • A Conversation With Stephen Chazen, CEO of Occidental Petroleum. At this Roundtable Emerging Leaders event, Stephen Chazen, CEO of Occidental Petroleum, will address the geopolitics of energy, drawing on his experience of more than 40 years in the oil and gas industry. 6 pm November 17
  • Shell Distinguished Lecture Series — Shaping Sustainable Future Cities: Lessons From Shell’s New Lens Scenarios. Cho-Oon Khong, the chief political analyst for Shell International's Strategy and Scenarios Team, will present findings from the New Lens Scenarios, Shell’s latest set of big-picture scenarios. 6:30 pm November 19
  • McLarty Lecture Series: A Conversation With Emilio Lozoya. Emilio Lozoya, CEO of Pemex, will address the future of the company and the significance of Mexico's energy reforms for the global energy market. Noon November 21
  • HPV Vaccination: A Public Health Opportunity, a Public Responsibility. This event will bring together leaders from academia, government and the media to discuss HPV, its impact on cancer and other diseases, and opportunities and challenges associated with prevention through vaccination programs. 7:30 am December 3
For a complete list of upcoming events, visit our events page. Research and News For a complete list, visit our research library. Baker Institute Blog

For a complete list, visit the Baker Institute Blog.

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Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy is a nonpartisan, independent think tank in Houston, Texas. The institute's distinguished fellows and scholars conduct research and collaborate with experts from academia, government, the media, business and private organizations on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy.
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