Health Care

Health Care


Mark J. Warshawsky | Jun 10, 2016
Concern about income inequality has dramatically shifted public attitudes toward economic and fiscal policy, and the subject of inequality has increasingly dominated the political debate. But the discussion has focused almost exclusively on comparing the earnings of lower- and higher-paid workers, and on promoting redistributive policies aimed at “correcting” this disparity. New research finds, however, that both scholars and politicians have largely overlooked a key contributor to earnings inequality: the role of rapidly increasing healthcare costs.
Brian Blase, Doug Badger, Edmund F. Haislmaier | Apr 22, 2016
This is the first in a series of papers in which we provide the most comprehensive analysis to date of the impact of the ACA on the individual and small group insurance market in 2014. In this overview, we provide information on how insurers fared in their first year selling QHPs—plans that satisfy all of the ACA’s requirements and are certified to be sold on exchanges—using a data set compiled from medical loss ratio form that insurers are required to file with the Department of Health and Human Services.
Eric Sun, Kelly Ferguson | Apr 20, 2016
In 2002, Congress passed the Medical Device User Fee and Modernization Act, with the aim of pushing the FDA to speed up the approval process for medical devices. This law levied large user fees on medical device manufacturers in exchange for the promise of shorter review times by the FDA. Whether the act has resulted in shorter review times has been unclear. This study conducted a regression analysis to address this question, using data on FDA review times for devices seeking approval between 1991 and 2012.
James C. Capretta | Mar 08, 2016
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is known primarily for its provisions that subsidize and regulate health insurance for the working-age population and their families, but it also made many important changes to the Medicare program. Perhaps the most important of those changes is a new upper limit on Medicare spending, enforced by the Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB.
James C. Capretta | Feb 23, 2016
Advances in information technology and knowledge of human health have the potential to revolutionize the way medical care is delivered to patients over the coming decade. Americans could get better health care, at less cost, if those delivering services to patients have the freedom to take full advantage of what these advances make possible.
Thomas Stratmann, Christopher Koopman | Feb 18, 2016
We examine the effect of entry regulation on ambulatory surgical centers and community hospitals and find that there are both more rural hospitals and more rural ambulatory surgical centers per capita in states without a certificate-of-need program regulating the opening of an ambulatory surgical center. This finding indicates that certificate-of-need laws may not be protecting access to rural health care, but are instead correlated with decreases in rural access.

Testimony & Comments

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Expert Commentary

Jun 23, 2016

Sensible Medicaid reform must accomplish two aims: reduce the unsustainable trajectory of federal and state Medicaid spending, and produce better outcomes for people most in need of public assistance. The House task force proposal would take steps to accomplish both aims. While much more work needs to be done, this is generally a good start.
Jun 10, 2016

Both economic theory and empirical findings indicate a trade-off between earnings and benefits: if benefits become more expensive, earnings growth will suffer. Indeed, the fact that average employer costs for family health coverage exploded from around $4,200 in 1999 to nearly $11,800 in 2013 gives a reasonable explanation for why earnings have stagnated in recent years.
Jun 09, 2016

The ACA made tens of millions of relatively young and healthy people worse off by reducing their choice of insurance and raising both their premiums and their taxes to finance its new spending. Kaiser’s survey of ACA plan enrollees shows that many people who were thought to be key beneficiaries of the law are not satisfied with their coverage.
Jun 08, 2016

The large premium increases indicate that the ACA is not working. People enrolling in ACA plans have much higher average medical claims than was expected. The reason: young and healthy people are generally refusing to purchase ACA plans. In fact, enrollment in the ACA exchanges is less than half of what was projected when the law passed in 2010.
Jun 06, 2016

Those who adamantly defend the FDA's stringent safety and efficacy requirements overlook the real costs of such policy: Drugs take considerably longer to reach patients, and when they do get to the market, they are often priced beyond the reach of many patients.
Jun 01, 2016

Without the CSR payments, premiums would need to be much higher. These higher premiums would, in turn, further exacerbate adverse selection in the individual market induced by the ACA. Therefore, while the case centers on constitutional powers granted the executive and legislative branches, it has stark implications for the viability of the ACA.


Certificate-of-need (CON) laws in 21 states restrict acquisition of imaging equipment, including MRI, CT, and PET scans. These CON requirements effectively protect established hospitals from nonhospital competitors that provide medical imaging services, such as independently practicing physicians, group practices, and other ambulatory settings. In the process of protecting hospitals from these nonhospital providers, CON laws limit the imaging services available to patients.


Charles Blahous is the director of the Spending and Budget Initiative, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and has served as a public trustee for Social Security and Medicare. He specializes in domestic economic policy and retirement security (with an emphasis on Social Security), as well as federal fiscal policy, entitlements, demographic change, and health-care reform.
Robert Graboyes is a senior research fellow and healthcare scholar with the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and is the author of the study “Fortress and Frontier in American Health Care.” He earned his PhD in economics from Columbia University. An award-winning teacher, Graboyes holds teaching positions at Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Virginia.
Christopher J. Conover is an affiliated senior scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a research scholar at the Center for Health Policy & Inequalities Research at Duke University.
Jerry Ellig is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and a former assistant professor of economics at George Mason University. He specializes in the federal regulatory process, economic regulation, and telecommunications regulation.
Jamil Khan is a program coordinator on health care policy for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.


Brian Blase | May 11, 2016
Brian Blase discusses his latest research on the Lars Larson Radio Show.

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| Sep 29, 2015
In a new set of essays commissioned by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, seven leading policy experts share innovative ideas on how to solve the pre-existing condition challenge. While their approaches exhibit differences as well as similarities, they are unified in their pursuit of a humane, equitable, fiscally sustainable solution to a conundrum that has driven and strained the entire post–World War II healthcare debate.

Media Clippings

Casey B. Mulligan | Oct 09, 2014
This excerpt originally appeared in The Washington Times.
Robert Graboyes | Sep 25, 2014
This excerpt originally appeared in Reuters.
Charles Blahous | Jun 04, 2014
This excerpt originally appeared in CQ and also appeared Roll Call.
Robert Graboyes | Jan 29, 2014
Robert Graboyes cited at Star-Telegram.
Tyler Cowen | Oct 30, 2013
Tyler Cowen cited at The Washington Post.
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