PhD, Stanford University, Economics (2000)
MD, Stanford University (1997)
I have published empirical economics and health services research on the elderly, adolescents, HIV/AIDS and managed care. Most recently, I have been working on the labor market consequences of the obesity epidemic. I have researched the regulation of the viatical-settlements market (a secondary life-insurance market that often targets HIV patients) and summer/winter differences in nutritional outcomes for low-income American families. I am working on a project examining the labor-market conditions that help determine why some U.S. employers do not provide health insurance.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Geographic and other variations in medical practices lead to differences in medical costs, often without a clear link to health outcomes. This work examined variation in the frequency of physician visits to patients receiving hemodialysis to measure the relative importance of provider practice patterns (including those patterns linked to geographic region) and patient health in determining visit frequency. DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, & MEASUREMENTS: This work analyzed a nationally representative 2006 database of patients receiving hemodialysis in the United States. A variation decomposition analysis of the relative importance of facility, geographic region, and patient characteristics-including demographics, socioeconomic status, and indicators of health status-in explaining physician visit frequency variation was conducted. Finally, the associations between facility, geographic and patient characteristics, and provider visit frequency were measured using multivariable regression. RESULTS: Patient characteristics accounted for only 0.9% of the total visit frequency variation. Accounting for case-mix differences, patients' hemodialysis facilities explained about 24.9% of visit frequency variation, of which 9.3% was explained by geographic region. Visit frequency was more closely associated with many facility and geographic characteristics than indicators of health status. More recent dialysis initiation and recent hospitalization were associated with decreased visit frequency. CONCLUSIONS: In hemodialysis, provider visit frequency depends more on geography and facility location and characteristics than patients' health status or acuity of illness. The magnitude of variation unrelated to patient health suggests that provider visit frequency practices do not reflect optimal management of patients on dialysis.
View details for DOI 10.2215/CJN.10171012
View details for PubMedID 23430207
Comparative effectiveness research suggests that conservative management (CM) strategies are no less effective than active initial treatment for many men with localized prostate cancer. We estimate longer-term costs of initial management strategies and potential US health expenditure savings by increased use of conservative management for men with localized prostate cancer. Five-year total health expenditures attributed to initial management strategies for localized prostate cancer were calculated using commercial claims data from 1998 to 2006, and savings were estimated from a US population health-care expenditure model. Our analysis finds that patients receiving combinations of active treatments have the highest additional costs over conservative management at $63 500, followed by $48 550 for intensity-modulated radiation therapy, $37 500 for primary androgen deprivation therapy, and $28 600 for brachytherapy. Radical prostatectomy ($15 200) and external beam radiation therapy ($18 900) were associated with the lowest costs. The population model estimated that US health expenditures could be lowered by 1) use of initial CM over all active treatment ($2.9-3.25 billion annual savings), 2) shifting patients receiving intensity-modulated radiation therapy to CM ($680-930 million), 3) foregoing primary androgen deprivation therapy($555 million), 4) reducing the use of adjuvant androgen deprivation in addition to local therapies ($630 million), and 5) using single treatments rather than combination local treatment ($620-655 million). In conclusion, we find that all active treatments are associated with higher longer-term costs than CM. Substantial savings, representing up to 30% of total costs, could be realized by adopting CM strategies, including active surveillance, for initial management of men with localized prostate cancer.
View details for DOI 10.1093/jncimonographs/lgs037
View details for PubMedID 23271781
The effect of global health initiatives on population health is uncertain. Between 2003 and 2008, the US President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the largest initiative ever devoted to a single disease, operated intensively in 12 African focus countries. The initiative's effect on all-cause adult mortality is unknown.To determine whether PEPFAR was associated with relative changes in adult mortality in the countries and districts where it operated most intensively.Using person-level data from the Demographic and Health Surveys, we conducted cross-country and within-country analyses of adult mortality (annual probability of death per 1000 adults between 15 and 59 years old) and PEPFAR's activities. Across countries, we compared adult mortality in 9 African focus countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia) with 18 African nonfocus countries from 1998 to 2008. We performed subnational analyses using information on PEPFAR's programmatic intensity in Tanzania and Rwanda. We employed difference-in-difference analyses with fixed effects for countries and years as well as personal and time-varying area characteristics.Adult all-cause mortality.We analyzed information on 1 538 612 adults, including 60 303 deaths, from 41 surveys in 27 countries, 9 of them focus countries. In 2003, age-adjusted adult mortality was 8.3 per 1000 adults in the focus countries (95% CI, 8.0-8.6) and 8.5 per 1000 adults (95% CI, 8.3-8.7) in the nonfocus countries. In 2008, mortality was 4.1 per 1000 (95% CI, 3.6-4.6) in the focus countries and 6.9 per 1000 (95% CI, 6.3-7.5) in the nonfocus countries. The adjusted odds ratio of mortality among adults living in focus countries compared with nonfocus countries between 2004 and 2008 was 0.84 (95% CI, 0.72-0.99; P = .03). Within Tanzania and Rwanda, the adjusted odds ratio of mortality for adults living in districts where PEPFAR operated more intensively was 0.83 (95% CI, 0.72-0.97; P = .02) and 0.75 (95% CI, 0.56-0.99; P = .04), respectively, compared with districts where it operated less intensively.Between 2004 and 2008, all-cause adult mortality declined more in PEPFAR focus countries relative to nonfocus countries. It was not possible to determine whether PEPFAR was associated with mortality effects separate from reductions in HIV-specific deaths.
View details for Web of Science ID 000304048200025
View details for PubMedID 22665105
This study examined the relationship between insurance status and emergency department (ED) disposition of injured California children.Multivariate regression models were built using data obtained from the 2005 through 2009 California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) data sets for all ED visits by injured children younger than 19 years of age.Of 3,519,530 injury-related ED visits, 52% were insured by private, and 36% were insured by public insurance, while 11% of visits were not insured. After adjustment for injury characteristics and demographic variables, publicly insured children had a higher likelihood of admission for mild, moderate, and severe injuries compared to privately insured children (mild injury adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 1.36, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.34 to 1.39; moderate and severe injury AOR = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.28 to 1.41). However, uninsured children were less likely to be admitted for mild, moderate, and severe injuries compared to privately insured children (mild injury AOR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.61 to 0.66; moderate and severe injury AOR = 0.50, 95% CI = 0.46 to 0.55). While publicly insured children with moderate and severe injuries were as likely as privately insured children to experience an ED death (AOR = 0.91, 95% CI = 0.70 to 1.18), uninsured children with moderate and severe injuries were more likely to die in the ED compared to privately insured children (AOR = 3.11, 95% CI = 2.38 to 4.06).Privately insured, publicly insured, and uninsured injured children have disparate patterns of ED disposition. Policy and clinical efforts are needed to ensure that all injured children receive equitable emergency care.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2012.01356.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000304133300009
This article examines the relationship between drug price and drug quality and how it varies across two of the most common regulatory regimes in the pharmaceutical market: minimum efficacy standards (MES) and a mix of MES and price control mechanisms (MES + PC).Our primary data source is the Tufts-New England Medical Center-Cost Effectiveness Analysis Registry which have been merged with price data taken from MEPS (for the United States) and AIFA (for Italy).Through a simple model of adverse selection we model the interaction between firms, heterogeneous buyers, and the regulator.The theoretical analysis provides two results. First, an MES regime provides greater incentives to produce high-quality drugs. Second, an MES + PC mix reduces the difference in price between the highest and lowest quality drugs on the market.The empirical analysis based on United States and Italian data corroborates these results.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01333.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000299040600018
View details for PubMedID 22091623
It is well-known that pooled insurance coverage can induce people to make inefficiently low investments in self-protective activities. We identify another ex ante moral hazard that runs in the opposite direction. Lower levels of self-protection and the associated chronic conditions and behavioral patterns such as obesity, smoking, and malnutrition increase the incidence of many diseases and consumption of treatments to those diseases. This increases the reward for innovation and thus benefits the innovator. It also increases treatment innovation which benefits all consumers. As individuals do not take these positive externalities into account, their investments in self-protection are inefficiently high. We quantify the lower bound of this externality for obesity. The lower bound is independent of how much additional innovation is generated. The results show that the externality we identify offsets the negative Medicare-induced insurance externality of obesity. The Medicare-induced obesity subsidy is thus not a sufficient rationale for "soda taxes", "fat taxes" or other penalties on obesity. The quantitative finding also implies that the other ex ante moral hazard that we identify can be as important as the ex ante moral hazard that has been a central concept in health economics for decades.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2011.09.001
View details for Web of Science ID 000302972200012
View details for PubMedID 21993331
Scientific research and private-sector technological innovation differ in objectives, constraints, and organizational forms. Scientific research may thus not be driven by the direct practical benefit to others in the way that private-sector innovation is. Alternatively, some - yet largely unexplored - mechanisms drive the direction of scientific research to respond to the expected public benefit. We test these two competing hypotheses of scientific research. This is important because any coherent specification of what constitutes the socially optimal allocation of research requires that scientists take the public practical benefit of their work into account in setting their agenda. We examine whether the composition of medical research responds to changes in disease prevalence, while accounting for the quality of available research opportunities. We match biomedical publications data with disease prevalence data and develop new methods for estimating the quality of research opportunities from textual information and structural productivity parameters.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2011.05.007
View details for Web of Science ID 000294393500001
View details for PubMedID 21683461
Racial and ethnic disparities are well documented in many areas of health care, but have not been comprehensively evaluated among recipients of heart transplants.We performed a retrospective cohort study of 39075 adult primary heart transplant recipients from 1987 to 2009 using national data from the United Network of Organ Sharing and compared mortality for nonwhite and white patients using the Cox proportional hazards model. During the study period, 8082 nonwhite and 30 993 white patients underwent heart transplantation. Nonwhite heart transplant recipients increased over time, comprising nearly 30% of transplantations since 2005. Nonwhite recipients had a higher clinical risk profile than white recipients at the time of transplantation, but had significantly higher posttransplantation mortality even after adjustment for baseline risk. Among the nonwhite group, only black recipients had an increased risk of death compared with white recipients after multivariable adjustment for recipient, transplant, and socioeconomic factors (hazard ratio, 1.34; 95% confidence interval, 1.21 to 1.47; P<0.001). Five-year mortality was 35.7% (95% confidence interval, 35.2 to 38.3) among black and 26.5% (95% confidence interval, 26.0 to 27.0) among white recipients. Black patients were more likely to die of graft failure or a cardiovascular cause than white patients, but less likely to die of infection or malignancy. Although mortality decreased over time for all transplant recipients, the disparity in mortality between blacks and whites remained essentially unchanged.Black heart transplant recipients have had persistently higher mortality than whites recipients over the past 2 decades, perhaps because of a higher rate of graft failure.
View details for DOI 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.976811
View details for Web of Science ID 000289620600017
View details for PubMedID 21464049
Racial disparities have not been comprehensively evaluated among recipients of lung transplantation.To describe the association between race and lung transplant survival and to determine whether racial disparities have changed in the modern (2001-2009) compared with the historical (1987-2000) transplant eras. Design, Setting, andA retrospective cohort study of 16 875 adults who received primary lung transplants from October 16, 1987, to February 19, 2009, was conducted using data from the United Network of Organ Sharing.We measured the risk of death after lung transplant for nonwhites compared with whites using time-to-event analysis.During the study period, 14 858 white and 2017 nonwhite patients underwent a lung transplant; they differed significantly at baseline. The percentage of nonwhite transplant recipients increased from 8.8% (before 1996) to 15.0% (2005-2009). In the historical era, 5-year survival was lower for nonwhites than whites (40.9% vs 46.9%). Nonwhites were at an increased risk of death independent of age, health and socioeconomic status, diagnosis, geographic region, donor organ characteristics, and operative factors (hazard ratio, 1.15; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-1.30). In subgroup analysis of the historical era, blacks had worsened 5-year survival compared with whites (39.0% vs 46.9%) and black women had worsened survival compared with white women (36.9% vs 48.9%). In the modern transplant era, survival improved for all patients. However, a greater improvement among nonwhites has eliminated the disparities in survival between the races (5-year survival, 52.5% vs 51.6%).In contrast to the historical era, there was no significant difference in lung transplant survival in the modern era between whites and nonwhites.
View details for Web of Science ID 000288611300009
View details for PubMedID 21422359
Adult obesity is a growing problem. From 1962 to 2006, obesity prevalence nearly tripled to 35.1 percent of adults. The rising prevalence of obesity is not limited to a particular socioeconomic group and is not unique to the United States. Should this widespread obesity epidemic be a cause for alarm? From a personal health perspective, the answer is an emphatic "yes." But when it comes to justifications of public policy for reducing obesity, the analysis becomes more complex. A common starting point is the assertion that those who are obese impose higher health costs on the rest of the population—a statement which is then taken to justify public policy interventions. But the question of who pays for obesity is an empirical one, and it involves analysis of how obese people fare in labor markets and health insurance markets. We will argue that the existing literature on these topics suggests that obese people on average do bear the costs and benefits of their eating and exercise habits. We begin by estimating the lifetime costs of obesity. We then discuss the extent to which private health insurance pools together obese and thin, whether health insurance causes obesity, and whether being fat might actually cause positive externalities for those who are not obese. If public policy to reduce obesity is not justified on the grounds of external costs imposed on others, then the remaining potential justification would need to be on the basis of helping people to address problems of ignorance or self-control that lead to obesity. In the conclusion, we offer a few thoughts about some complexities of such a justification.
View details for DOI 10.1257/jep.25.1.139
View details for Web of Science ID 000287303900007
View details for PubMedID 21598459
To determine the association of reductions in price of antiretroviral drugs and foreign assistance for HIV with coverage of antiretroviral treatment.Retrospective study.Africa.13 African countries, 2003-8.A price index of first line antiretroviral therapy with data on foreign assistance for HIV was used to estimate the associations of prices and foreign assistance with antiretroviral coverage (percentage of people with advanced HIV infection receiving antiretroviral therapy), controlling for national public health spending, HIV prevalence, governance, and fixed effects for countries and years.Between 2003 and 2008 the annual price of first line antiretroviral therapy decreased from $1177 (£733; €844) to $96 and foreign assistance for HIV per capita increased from $0.4 to $13.8. At an annual price of $100, a $10 decrease was associated with a 0.16% adjusted increase in coverage (95% confidence interval 0.11% to 0.20%; 0.19% unadjusted, 0.14% to 0.24%). Each additional $1 per capita in foreign assistance for HIV was associated with a 1.0% adjusted increase in coverage (0.7% to 1.2%; 1.4% unadjusted, 1.1% to 1.6%). If the annual price of antiretroviral therapy stayed at $100, foreign assistance would need to quadruple to $64 per capita to be associated with universal coverage. Government effectiveness and national public health expenditures were also positively associated with increasing coverage.Reductions in price of antiretroviral drugs were important in broadening coverage of HIV treatment in Africa from 2003 to 2008, but their future role may be limited. Foreign assistance and national public health expenditures for HIV seem more important in expanding future coverage.
View details for DOI 10.1136/bmj.c6218
View details for Web of Science ID 000284586600002
View details for PubMedID 21088074
Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) and other chronic diseases are caused by a complex combination of many genetic and environmental factors. Few methods are available to comprehensively associate specific physical environmental factors with disease. We conducted a pilot Environmental-Wide Association Study (EWAS), in which epidemiological data are comprehensively and systematically interpreted in a manner analogous to a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS).We performed multiple cross-sectional analyses associating 266 unique environmental factors with clinical status for T2D defined by fasting blood sugar (FBG) concentration > or =126 mg/dL. We utilized available Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) cohorts from years 1999 to 2006. Within cohort sample numbers ranged from 503 to 3,318. Logistic regression models were adjusted for age, sex, body mass index (BMI), ethnicity, and an estimate of socioeconomic status (SES). As in GWAS, multiple comparisons were controlled and significant findings were validated with other cohorts. We discovered significant associations for the pesticide-derivative heptachlor epoxide (adjusted OR in three combined cohorts of 1.7 for a 1 SD change in exposure amount; p<0.001), and the vitamin gamma-tocopherol (adjusted OR 1.5; p<0.001). Higher concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) such as PCB170 (adjusted OR 2.2; p<0.001) were also found. Protective factors associated with T2D included beta-carotenes (adjusted OR 0.6; p<0.001).Despite difficulty in ascertaining causality, the potential for novel factors of large effect associated with T2D justify the use of EWAS to create hypotheses regarding the broad contribution of the environment to disease. Even in this study based on prior collected epidemiological measures, environmental factors can be found with effect sizes comparable to the best loci yet found by GWAS.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0010746
View details for Web of Science ID 000278017300017
View details for PubMedID 20505766
Although the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) limits the work hours of residents, concerns about fatigue persist. A new Institute of Medicine (IOM) report recommends, among other changes, improved adherence to the 2003 ACGME limits, naps during extended shifts, a 16-hour limit for shifts without naps, and reduced workloads.We used published data to estimate labor costs associated with transferring excess work from residents to substitute providers, and we examined the effects of our assumptions in sensitivity analyses. Next, using a probability model to represent labor costs as well as mortality and costs associated with preventable adverse events, we determined the net costs to major teaching hospitals and cost-effectiveness across a range of hypothetical changes in the rate of preventable adverse events.Annual labor costs from implementing the IOM recommendations were estimated to be $1.6 billion (in 2006 U.S. dollars) across all ACGME-accredited programs ($1.1 billion to $2.5 billion in sensitivity analyses). From a 10% decrease to a 10% increase in preventable adverse events, net costs per admission ranged from $99 to $183 for major teaching hospitals and from $17 to $266 for society. With 2.5% to 11.3% decreases in preventable adverse events, costs to society per averted death ranged from $3.4 million to $0.Implementing the four IOM recommendations would be costly, and their effectiveness is unknown. If highly effective, they could prevent patient harm at reduced or no cost from the societal perspective. However, net costs to teaching hospitals would remain high.
View details for Web of Science ID 000266206000007
View details for PubMedID 19458365
Since 2003, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) has been the most ambitious initiative to address the global HIV epidemic. However, the effect of PEPFAR on HIV-related outcomes is unknown.To assess the effect of PEPFAR on HIV-related deaths, the number of people living with HIV, and HIV prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa.Comparison of trends before and after the initiation of PEPFAR's activities.12 African focus countries and 29 control countries with a generalized HIV epidemic from 1997 to 2007 (451 country-year observations).A 5-year, $15 billion program for HIV treatment, prevention, and care that started in late 2003.HIV-related deaths, the number of people living with HIV, and HIV prevalence.Between 2004 and 2007, the difference in the annual change in the number of HIV-related deaths was 10.5% lower in the focus countries than in the control countries (P = 0.001). The difference in trends between the groups before 2003 was not significant. The annual growth in the number of people living with HIV was 3.7% slower in the focus countries than in the control countries from 1997 to 2002 (P = 0.05), but during PEPFAR's activities, the difference was no longer significant. The difference in the change in HIV prevalence did not significantly differ throughout the study period. These estimates were stable after sensitivity analysis.The selection of the focus countries was not random, which limits the generalizability of the results.After 4 years of PEPFAR activity, HIV-related deaths decreased in sub-Saharan African focus countries compared with control countries, but trends in adult prevalence did not differ. Assessment of epidemiologic effectiveness should be part of PEPFAR's evaluation programs.Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
View details for Web of Science ID 000266285300004
View details for PubMedID 19349625
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) was widely used among postmenopausal women until 2002 because observational studies suggested that HRT reduced cardiovascular risk. The Women's Health Initiative randomized trial reported opposite results in 2002, which caused HRT use to drop sharply.We examine the relationship between HRT use and cardiovascular outcomes (deaths and nonfatal hospitalizations) in the entire US population, which has not been studied in prior clinical trials or observational studies.We use an instrumental variables regression design to analyze the relationship between medication use, cardiovascular risk factors, and acute stroke and myocardial infarction event rates in women aged 40 to 79 years. The natural experiment of the 2002 decline in HRT usage mitigates confounding factors. We use US death records, hospital discharge data obtained from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's Nationwide Inpatient Sample, and nationally representative surveys of medication usage, and behavioral risk factors.Decreases in HRT use were not associated with statistically significant changes in hospitalizations or deaths due to acute stroke (0.000002, P = 0.999, 95% CI: -0.0027 to 0.0027). Decreased HRT use was associated with a decrease in the incidence of acute myocardial infarction (-0.0025 or -25 events/10,000 person-years, P = 0.021, 95% CI: -0.0047 to -0.0004). The results were similar in a sensitivity analysis using alternate data sources.Decreased HRT use was not associated with reduced acute stroke rate but was associated with a decreased acute myocardial infarction rate among women. Our results suggest that observational data can provide correct inferences on clinical outcomes in the overall population if a suitable natural experiment is identified.
View details for Web of Science ID 000265563500014
View details for PubMedID 19319001
Who pays the healthcare costs associated with obesity? Among workers, this is largely a question of the incidence of the costs of employer-sponsored coverage. Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, we find that the incremental healthcare costs associated with obesity are passed on to obese workers with employer-sponsored health insurance in the form of lower cash wages. Obese workers without employer-sponsored insurance do not have a wage offset relative to their non-obese counterparts. A substantial part of the lower wages among obese women attributed to labor market discrimination can be explained by their higher health insurance premiums.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2009.02.009
View details for Web of Science ID 000266648500011
View details for PubMedID 19433210
Recent work has shown that rates of severe disability, measured by the inability to perform basic activities of daily living, have been rising in working age populations. At the same time, the prevalence of important chronic diseases has been rising, while others falling, among working age populations. Chronically ill individuals are more likely than others to have activity of daily living limitations.We examine the extent to which chronic disease trends can explain these disability trends.We use nationally representative survey data from the 1984-1996 National Interview Survey, which posed a consistent set of questions regarding limitations in activities of daily living over that period.We decompose trends in disability into 2 parts-1 part due to trends in the prevalence of chronic disease and the other due to trends in disability prevalence among those with chronic disease.: Our primary findings are that for working age populations between 1984 and 1996: (1) disability prevalence fell dramatically among the nonchronically ill; (2) rising obesity prevalence explains about 40% of the rise in disability attributable to trends chronic illness; and (3) rising disability prevalence among the chronically ill explains about 60% of the rise in disability attributable to trends in chronic illness.Disability prevention efforts in working age populations should focus on reductions in obesity prevalence and limiting disability among chronically ill populations. Given the rise in disability among these population subgroups, it is unclear whether further substantial declines in elderly disability can be expected.
View details for Web of Science ID 000252234200014
View details for PubMedID 18162861
In 2002, the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education enacted regulations, effective 1 July 2003, that limited work hours for all residency programs in the United States.To determine whether work-hour regulations were associated with changes in mortality in hospitalized patients.Comparison of mortality rates in high-risk teaching service patients hospitalized before and after July 2003, with nonteaching service patients used as a control group.551 U.S. community hospitals included in the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project's Nationwide Inpatient Survey between January 2001 and December 2004.1,511,945 adult patients admitted for 20 medical and 15 surgical diagnoses. Measurement: Inpatient mortality.In 1,268,738 medical patients examined, the regulations were associated with a 0.25% reduction in the absolute mortality rate (P = 0.043) and a 3.75% reduction in the relative risk for death. In subgroup analyses, particularly large improvements in mortality were observed among patients admitted for infectious diseases (change, -0.66%; P = 0.007) and in medical patients older than 80 years of age (change, -0.71%; P = 0.005). By contrast, in 243,207 surgical patients, regulations were not associated with statistically significant changes (change, 0.13%; P = 0.54).Teaching status was assigned according to hospital characteristics because direct information on each patient's provider was not available. Results reflect changes associated with the sum of regulations, not specifically with caps on work hours.The work-hour regulations were associated with decreased short-term mortality among high-risk medical patients in teaching hospitals but were not associated with statistically significant changes among surgical patients in teaching hospitals.
View details for Web of Science ID 000248179300001
View details for PubMedID 17548403
If rational individuals pay the full costs of their decisions about food intake and exercise, economists, policy makers, and public health officials should treat the obesity epidemic as a matter of indifference. In this paper, we show that, as long as insurance premiums are not risk rated for obesity, health insurance coverage systematically shields those covered from the full costs of physical inactivity and overeating. Since the obese consume significantly more medical resources than the non-obese, but pay the same health insurance premiums, they impose a negative externality on normal weight individuals in their insurance pool. To estimate the size of this externality, we develop a model of weight loss and health insurance under two regimes--(1) underwriting on weight is allowed and (2) underwriting on weight is not allowed. We show that under regime (1), there is no obesity externality. Under regime (2), where there is an obesity externality, all plan participants face inefficient incentives to undertake unpleasant dieting and exercise. These reduced incentives lead to inefficient increases in bodyweight, and reduced social welfare. Using data on medical expenditures and bodyweight from the National Health and Interview Survey and the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, we estimate that, in a health plan with a coinsurance rate of 17.5%, the obesity externality imposes a welfare cost of about $150 per capita. Our results also indicate that the welfare loss can be reduced by technological change that lowers the pecuniary and non-pecuniary costs of losing weight, and also by increasing the coinsurance rate.
View details for PubMedID 19548556
Outcomes research often requires estimating the impact of a binary treatment on a binary outcome in a non-randomized setting, such as the effect of taking a drug on mortality. The data often come from self-selected samples, leading to a spurious correlation between the treatment and outcome when standard binary dependent variable techniques, like logit or probit, are used. Intuition suggests that a two-step procedure (analogous to two-stage least squares) might be sufficient to deal with this problem if variables are available that are correlated with the treatment choice but not the outcome. This paper demonstrates the limitations of such a two-step procedure. We show that such estimators will not generally be consistent. We conduct a Monte Carlo exercise to compare the performance of the two-step probit estimator, the two-stage least squares linear probability model estimator, and the multivariate probit. The results from this exercise argue in favour of using the multivariate probit rather than the two-step or linear probability model estimators, especially when there is more than one treatment, when the average probability of the dependent variable is close to 0 or 1, or when the data generating process is not normal. We demonstrate how these different methods perform in an empirical example examining the effect of private and public insurance coverage on the mortality of HIV+ patients.
View details for DOI 10.1002/sim.2226
View details for Web of Science ID 000235092100003
View details for PubMedID 16382420
This paper forecasts the consequences of scientific progress in cancer for total Medicare spending between 2005 and 2030. Because technological advance is uncertain, widely varying scenarios are modeled. A baseline scenario assumes that year 2000 technology stays frozen. A second scenario incorporates recent cancer treatment advances and their attendant discomfort. Optimistic scenarios analyzed include the discovery of an inexpensive cure, a vaccine that prevents cancer, and vastly improved screening techniques. Applying the Future Elderly Model, we find that no scenario holds major promise for guaranteeing the future financial health of Medicare.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.W5.R53
View details for Web of Science ID 000235033500057
View details for PubMedID 16186151
To quantify the effects of informal caregiver availability and public funding on formal long-term care (LTC) expenditures in developed countries.Secondary data were acquired for 15 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries from 1970 to 2000.Secondary data analysis, applying fixed- and random-effects models to time-series cross-sectional data. Outcome variables are inpatient or home heath LTC expenditures. Key explanatory variables are measures of the availability of informal caregivers, generosity in public funding for formal LTC, and the proportion of the elderly population in the total population.Aggregated macro data were obtained from OECD Health Data, United Nations Demographic Yearbooks, and U.S. Census Bureau International Data Base.Most of the 15 OECD countries experienced growth in LTC expenditures over the study period. The availability of a spouse caregiver, measured by male-to-female ratio among the elderly, is associated with a $28,840 (1995 U.S. dollars) annual reduction in formal LTC expenditure per additional elderly male. Availability of an adult child caregiver, measured by female labor force participation and full-time/part-time status shift, is associated with a reduction of $310 to $3,830 in LTC expenditures. These impacts on LTC expenditure vary across countries and across time within a country.The availability of an informal caregiver, particularly a spouse caregiver, is among the most important factors explaining variation in LTC expenditure growth. Long-term care policies should take into account behavioral responses: decreased public funding in LTC may lead working women to leave the labor force to provide more informal care.
View details for Web of Science ID 000226743500004
View details for PubMedID 15544640
Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, we examine the relationship between nutritional status, poverty, and food insecurity for household members of various ages. Our most striking result is that, while poverty is predictive of poor nutrition among preschool children, food insecurity does not provide any additional predictive power for this age group. Among school age children, neither poverty nor food insecurity is associated with nutritional outcomes, while among adults and the elderly, both food insecurity and poverty are predictive. These results suggest that researchers should be cautious about assuming connections between food insecurity and nutritional outcomes, particularly among children.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2003.12.008
View details for Web of Science ID 000223878600013
View details for PubMedID 15587700
This paper investigates trends in disability in the U.S. population, particularly among people under age fifty. Even as the elderly have become less disabled, reported disability has risen for younger Americans, especially those ages 30-49. We suggest some possible explanations for rising disability levels, such as obesity, technological advances in medicine, and changing disability insurance laws. Obesity and its attendant disorders seem particularly associated with these trends, although the data are not definitive. Whatever its sources, rising disability among the young could have adverse consequences for public programs such as disability insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.23.1.168
View details for Web of Science ID 000187907600021
View details for PubMedID 15002639
The traditional focus of disability research has been on the elderly, with good reason. Chronic disability is much more prevalent among the elderly, and it has a more direct impact on the demand for medical care. It is also important to understand trends in disability among the young, however, particularly if these trends diverge from those among the elderly. These trends could have serious implications for future health care spending because more disability at younger ages almost certainly translates into more disability among tomorrow's elderly, and disability is a key predictor of health care spending. Using data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) and the National Health Interview Study (NHIS), we forecast that per-capita Medicare costs will decline for the next fifteen to twenty years, in accordance with recent projections of declining disability among the elderly. By 2020, however, the trend reverses. Per-capita costs begin to rise due to growth in disability among the younger elderly. Total costs may well remain relatively flat until 2010 and then begin to rise because per-capita costs will cease to decline rapidly enough to offset the influx of new elderly people. Overall, cost forecasts for the elderly that incorporate information about disability among today's younger generations yield more pessimistic scenarios than those based solely on elderly data sets, and this information should be incorporated into official Medicare forecasts.
View details for Web of Science ID 000284042100004
View details for PubMedID 15612336
As policymakers consider expanding insurance coverage for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV+) population, it is useful to ask whether insurance has any effect on health outcomes, and, if so, whether public insurance is as efficacious as private insurance in preventing premature death. Using data from a nationally representative cohort of HIV-infected persons receiving regular medical care, we estimate the impact of different types of insurance on mortality in this population. Our main findings are that (1) ignoring observed and unobserved health status misleads one to conclude that insurance may not be protective for HIV patients, (2) after accounting for observed and unobserved heterogeneity, insurance does protect against premature death, and (3) private insurance is more effective than public insurance. The better performance of private insurance can be explained in part by more restrictive Medicaid prescription drug policies that limit access to highly efficacious treatment.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2003.07.001
View details for Web of Science ID 000186669200012
View details for PubMedID 14604563
The authors sought to determine the effects of cold-weather periods on budgets and nutritional outcomes among poor American families.The Consumer Expenditure Survey was used to track expenditures on food and home fuels, and the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey was used to track calorie consumption, dietary quality, vitamin deficiencies, and anemia.Both poor and richer families increased fuel expenditures in response to unusually cold weather. Poor families reduced food expenditures by roughly the same amount as their increase in fuel expenditures, whereas richer families increased food expenditures.Poor parents and their children spend less on and eat less food during cold-weather budgetary shocks. Existing social programs fail to buffer against these shocks.
View details for Web of Science ID 000183827200041
View details for PubMedID 12835201
To forecast growth in the US nursing home population, as a function of trends in disability and marriage.Nursing home residence is modeled as a function of disability status, marital status, and other demographic covariates. Our predictions for nursing home residence are built upon joint forecasts of marriage and disability. We use data from the 1992 to 1996 Medicare Current Beneficiary Surveys, which are individual-level data sets designed to be representative of the US population older than the age of 65.Today's young cohorts will have higher rates and levels of institutionalization than their older counterparts. This will reverse several decades of decline in rates of disability and institutionalization. The nursing home population is likely to be 10-25% higher than would be suggested by a simple extrapolation of past declines in disability.In recent years, the rate of institutionalization among the elderly has been falling. It is predicted that this trend will reverse itself within the next decade, and that we will see substantial increases in the incidence of institutionalization among the elderly. This result is generated by our prediction of rising disability among the younger cohorts that are beginning to approach old age.
View details for Web of Science ID 000180243000003
View details for PubMedID 12544538
The labor market impact of upper extremity musculoskeletal injuries that result in permanent disability was estimated using data from the State of California. Administrative data on disability evaluations and resulting ratings was matched to data on the earnings of over 7000 injured workers. Using these data, labor market experience pre- and postinjury was tracked. Each injured worker was matched to a set of control workers who worked at the same firm, had the same tenure at the firm, and earned the same income at the time of injury. By comparing the injured and uninjured workers, lost earnings and the impact of injury on return to work was estimated. Evidence of considerable lost earnings resulting from injury was found. The results are compared to "disability ratings" that are used to set compensation under California's workers' compensation program. The disability rating was also found to predict poorly differences across upper extremity injuries in losses. In particular, those with shoulder injuries have larger losses than those with elbow or wrist injuries, despite receiving the same disability ratings.
View details for Web of Science ID 000177380400009
View details for PubMedID 12228950
Expert opinion has not been used as a basis for comparing different forms of health insurance, in part because this perspective may not be appropriately sensitive to aspects of care that consumers value.Using a case-control design, managed care experts were surveyed at 17 academic institutions in the United States to determine the type of health plan they chose (fee-for-service, HMO, POS, PPO, or catastrophic). Controls consisted of academicians from other disciplines at these institutions who ostensibly faced the same insurance options. We then compared the choices of physician experts, nonphysician experts and controls using a multinomial logit model that was sensitive to the choice set available at each institution. We also examined the choice behavior of respondents within moderate (< $150,000) and high (> or =$150,000) income levels.Four hundred thirty-seven experts and 465 controls were surveyed and responses were received from 73.7% and 52.7%, respectively. Physician experts were approximately half as likely (14.9%) as controls (26.6%) or nonphysician experts (27.6%) to enroll in HMO plans. In moderate-income households, both physicians (Relative Risk [RR] = 0.42; P <0.01) and nonphysician experts (RR = 0.71; P <0.1) were less likely than controls to opt for an HMO. Experts' propensity to choose HMO coverage varied little with income, whereas controls' propensity changed dramatically between moderate (39.1% in HMOs) and high (14.0% in HMOs) income categories.The aversion of physician experts, and nonphysician experts with moderate income, to HMO plans may be caused by their stronger distaste for the constraints on choice and access that typically accompany HMO coverage. Alternatively, it may be explained by their superior ability to absorb, understand, and use information about available insurance options. Insights into quality in managed care may also play a role.
View details for Web of Science ID 000175375400003
View details for PubMedID 11961472
Many consumers are offered two or more employer-sponsored health insurance plans, and competition among health plans for subscribers is promoted as a mechanism for balancing health care costs and quality. Yet consumers may not receive the information necessary to make informed health plan choices. This study tests the effects on health plan choice of providing supplemental decision-support materials to inform consumers about expected health plan costs. Our main finding is that such information induces consumers to bear more risk, especially those in relatively good health. Thus our results suggest that working-age, privately insured consumers currently may be over-insuring for medical care.
View details for Web of Science ID 000168845100004
View details for PubMedID 11381720
There is substantial variation in the generosity of public assistance programs that affect HIV+ patients, and these differences should affect the economic outcomes associated with HIV infection. This article uses data from a nationally representative sample of HIV+ patients to assess how differences across states in Medicaid and AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP) affect costs and labor market outcomes for HIV+ patients in care in that state. Making ADAP programs more generous in terms of drug coverage would reduce per patient total monthly costs, mainly through a reduction in hospitalization costs. In contrast, expanding ADAP eligibility by increasing the income threshold would increase the total cost of care. Expanding eligibility for Medicaid through the medically needy program would increase per patient total costs, but full-time employment would increase and so would monthly earnings. The authors conclude that more generous state policies toward HIV+ patients--especially those designed to provide access to efficacious treatment--could improve the economic outcomes associated with HIV.
View details for Web of Science ID 000166858000002
View details for PubMedID 11236232
There is a shortage of data to inform policy debates about the quickly changing health care system. This paper describes Healthcare for Communities (HCC), a component of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Health Tracking Initiative that was designed to fill this gap for alcohol, drug abuse, and mental health care. HCC bridges clinical perspectives and economic/policy research approaches, links data at market, service delivery, and individual levels, and features a household survey of nearly 9,600 individuals with an employer follow-back survey. Public use files will be available in late 1999.
View details for Web of Science ID 000082104700010
View details for PubMedID 10459376
Evaluation of programs and policies to reduce the incidence of workplace injuries require that the consequences of injury are estimated correctly. Because workplace injuries are complex events, the availability of data that reflects this complexity is the largest obstacle to this estimation.We review the literature on the consequences of workplace injuries for both workers and employers, focusing on data sources, particularly linked administrative data from different public agencies. We also review other approaches to obtaining data to examine workplace injuries, including public-use longitudinal survey data, primary data collection, and linked employee-employer databases. We make suggestions for future research.Recent advances in the literature on the economic consequences of workplace injuries for workers have been driven to a great extent by the availability of new data sources. Much remains unexplored. We find longitudinal survey databases including the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, and the Health and Retirement Survey, to be very promising though largely untapped sources of data on workplace injuries. We also find that linked employee-employer databases are well suited for the study of consequences for employers.We expect that new data sources should lead to rapid advances in our understanding of the economic consequences of workplace injuries for both workers and employers.
View details for Web of Science ID 000171326500012
View details for PubMedID 11598994