Orszag: More must be done to evaluate programs

The White House budget chief told statistics professionals Friday that more must be done to empirically evaluate the effectiveness of the nation's healthcare and education systems.

"We are making huge investments without doing enough to measure what works and what doesn't," said Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag.

Speaking at a symposium on the use of statistics in federal programs, Orszag highlighted the administration's efforts to boost funding for "effectiveness research" in the $787 billion economic stimulus package.

But Orszag warned that more data systems, or protocols for statistical analyses, must be put in place to help policymakers determine the best ways to educate the nation's children and keep citizens healthy. "In health care, we are doing lots of things without measuring the impact," he said, noting that the costs of the same medical procedures sometimes vary wildly from hospital to hospital. Citing a Dartmouth College study showing that $700 billion is spent annually on healthcare services with no proven outcomes, he said the system is "wasting substantial amounts of resources on procedures that don't work."

Noting the administration's commitment to "evidence-based policy making," Orszag defended the elimination of programs in the president's fiscal 2010 budget details that were released Thursday. The Even Start program -- which supports family literacy projects and was protected from the Bush administration budget ax by its champions in Congress -- has simply performed too poorly on empirical tests to warrant funding, Orszag said. The administration's commitment to data analysis, Orszag later added, informs its commitment to evaluating teacher performance in the classroom rather than rewarding educators only on the basis of "upfront credentials."

He told the statisticians, "There could be a potentially very big payoff, but we're not going to be able to do that kind of analysis if we don't have a data system in place in the first place."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.