Health Care

Health Care

Research

Robert Graboyes | Oct 20, 2014
This paper suggests some potential policy actions to shift health care from Fortress to Frontier, and toward a goal of producing better health for more people at lower cost on a continuous basis.
Casey B. Mulligan | Oct 07, 2014
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes several types of incentives that will affect work schedules. The largest of them are (1) an explicit penalty on employers who do not offer coverage to their full-time employees; (2) an implicit tax on full-time employment, stemming from the fact that full-time employees at employers that offer affordable coverage are ineligible to receive subsidies on the law’s new health insurance exchanges; and (3) an implicit tax on earnings, stemming from the provisions of the law that give lower subsidies to those with higher incomes.
Douglas Webber, James Bailey | May 28, 2014
As of 2011, the average US state had 37 health insurance benefit mandates, laws requiring health insurance plans to cover a specific treatment, condition, provider, or person. This number is a massive increase from less than one mandate per state in 1965, and the topic takes on a new significance now, when the federal government is considering many new mandates as part of the “essential health benefits” required by the Affordable Care Act.
Marc Joffe | Apr 02, 2014
The high and rising cost of US medical care is partially attributable to legally enforced rigidities in the health care system. By relaxing restrictions, the government can unlock competitive forces that drive prices down and empower individuals to avoid unnecessary, expensive medical services. A more open health care market would give providers incentives to innovate in ways that not only improve the quality of care but also reduce the cost of offering it.
Charles Blahous | Jan 14, 2014
According to a new paper published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, the slowdown in health care cost growth is extremely unlikely to solve Medicare’s financing problems. Indeed, such a suggestion primarily reflects an incomplete understanding of how current Medicare cost projections are done.
Jason J. Fichtner, John Pulito | Dec 11, 2013
This paper provides an overview of the intent of the Medicaid program and its budgetary implications. In 1965, when Medicaid was created under Title XIX of the Social Security Act to provide health insurance for low-income individuals, the program was considered an afterthought to Medicare. Today, however, more Americans receive coverage from Medicaid than any other health insurance program, including Medicare. Today Medicaid costs nearly $500 billion annually, funded by taxpayer dollars at the state and federal levels. This paper explains the budgetary implications of Medicaid for federal and state budgets and how these obligations will grow under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Testimony & Comments

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Expert Commentary

Oct 20, 2014

Midterm elections are coming, and both parties are lobbing grenades over health care. Despite the furious rhetoric, the two sides are more alike than they realize. Both spent decades pursuing policies that obstruct health care's capacity to save lives, ease suffering and cut costs. The endless vitriol resembles World War I-style trench warfare. The Affordable Care Act moved the battle lines a little in one direction; the midterms that year moved them a little in the opposite direction. With divided government, the 2014 elections will move the lines even less.
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Oct 14, 2014

This past week provided an important example of the anticipated effects of the Affordable Care Act coming to pass. Walmart has announced that it will no longer offer health insurance for 26,000 part-time workers, prompting a piece at Vox recognizing that this termination of coverage occurred because “Obamacare changes the calculus on getting coverage at work” and noting that “the loser in the Walmart decision is the federal budget.”…
By Thomas Stratmann, Darpana M. Sheth |
Oct 14, 2014

The most pernicious aspect of CON programs is that they remove the ability of consumers to dictate which medical services are available, turning that power over to regulators and medical providers. That's foolish. Building a 21st century health care system will take experimentation. The last thing states should do is stand in the way of medical entrepreneurs.
Oct 08, 2014

For the fifth autumn in a row, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is spurring waves of health-insurance policy cancellations. As I explained in a recent video and article, some of the most recent cancellations (with more to come in future years) result from an odd and unnecessary regulation that sets up a conflict between the ACA's "metallic tiers" (bronze, silver, etc.) and a phenomenon we can call "actuarial value drift."
Oct 07, 2014

These new ACA employment disincentives are just two among many factors determining the kinds of work schedules that employers offer and employees accept. Regrettably, they are likely to have the unintended consequence of turning back the clock on decades of progress women have made in the American labor market.
By Mark J. Warshawsky, Andrew G. Biggs |
Oct 06, 2014

A new Kaiser Family Foundation survey reports that health-insurance premiums rose by a “modest” 3% in 2013. Even more modest, however, was the 2.3% growth of workers’ earnings last year. These figures merely illustrate a long-term trend of rising health costs eating away at wages. The real story is even more dramatic: Government data show that health costs are the biggest driver of income inequality in America today.

Charts

Currently, 35 states and the District of Columbia prohibit entry or expansion of healthcare facilities through “certificate-of-need” (CON) programs. These laws, which require government permission before a facility can expand, offer a new service, or purchase certain pieces of equipment, were enacted in the belief that restricting entry would lower health care costs and increase availability of these services to the poor.

Experts

Charles Blahous is the director of the Spending and Budget Initiative, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and 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 for the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
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.
Michael L. Marlow is an affiliated senior scholar at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and professor of economics and distinguished scholar at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

Podcasts

Casey B. Mulligan | October 14, 2014
Casey B. Mulligan Discusses the Affordable Care Act on the John Batchelor Show

Upcoming Events

Nov 06, 2014
Please join us for a lunch on Thursday, November 6th, with Mercatus senior research fellow Robert Graboyes. Dr. Graboyes specializes in healthcare economics and will discuss the fiscal realities of the Affordable Care Act.

Recent Events

The Mercatus Center at George Mason University invites you to a Capitol Hill Campus program featuring Senior Research Fellow Dr. Robert Graboyes, offering a different economic perspective from the conventional discussion surrounding health care.

Books

Media Clippings

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.
Veronique de Rugy | Oct 10, 2013
On Wednesday, the Obama administration confirmed that citizens must sign-up for health coverage by Feb. 15, 2014, according to the Washington Post. That means the end of the open enrollment period is about six weeks earlier than originally announced. Since applications can take up to 15 days to process, the new deadline is a way to ensure that consumers will have health insurance coverage that begins before March 31; consumers who are not insured by March 31 will be subject to penalties.
Charles Blahous | Jul 08, 2013
“If the employer mandate proves unworkable and subject to possible repeal, even the optimistic representation of positive budgetary effects basically collapses.”…
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