Health Care

Health Care


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.
Jeremy Horpedahl, Harrison Searles | Sep 10, 2013
The exclusion of employer-provided health insurance from taxation lowers federal tax revenue significantly. According to the Office of Management and Budget, the federal government missed out on over $170 billion in income tax revenue and another $108 billion in payroll tax revenue in fiscal year 2012 due to the exclusion.1 Over the next five fiscal years, the federal government would collect around $1 trillion in income tax revenue if employer-provided health benefits were taxed, plus another $600 billion payroll tax revenue. Given the large deficits that the federal government continues to accumulate, this exclusion is a tempting source of new revenue. But closing this loophole would also mean a significant tax increase on all working Americans that currently receive health insurance from their employer.
Daniel Sutter | Mar 21, 2013
Driven by the need to reform unsustainable entitlement programs, policymakers today are looking to the successful example of welfare reform—specifically, to its block grants to states. To inform this discussion, a new Mercatus Center at George Mason University study by Daniel Sutter reviews arguments in the debate over block grants versus matching grants for joint federal-state programs, examines the effects of shifting control of welfare programs to the states, and considers how the lessons from welfare reform can inform the current debate about Medicaid block grants.
Charles Blahous | Mar 05, 2013
In the wake of a 2012 Supreme Court ruling, states face complex decisions concerning whether to expand Medicaid coverage to the full extent envisioned in the Affordable Care Act (ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare). With the federal government no longer able to coerce expansion, states must base their decisions on value judgments that incorporate each state’s unique budgetary circumstances, the needs of its uninsured population, and the incentives established by interactions among the ACA’s provisions.

Testimony & Comments

Research Summaries & Toolkits

Expert Commentary

Apr 17, 2014

When new enrollment figures were released last week, the national discussion focused on whether the ACA is fulfilling its coverage expansion goals. The largely unwritten and more important story, however, is that the ACA is rapidly becoming a colossal fiscal disaster as enrollment proceeds heedless of the concurrent collapse of the law’s financing structure.
By Marc Joffe |
Apr 14, 2014

With the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period now closed, perhaps there is an opportunity for constructive, bipartisan policy discussion on health care reform. One thing that both Obamacare supporters and opponents can agree on is that our health care system remains inefficient. And, although health care inflation slowed in recent years, informed observers from across the political spectrum realize that population aging will produce a new bout of cost escalation – unless something else is done.
Apr 11, 2014

States should be wary of the impact the expansion will have on their state budgets when the expansion is perceived as permanent, but the federal aid turns out to be temporary.
Apr 07, 2014

As a practicing obstetrician-gynecologist in California, I have long been concerned with the failings of programs intended to help women in need access quality health care. I am increasingly concerned that the expansion of Medicaid through the new health care law, known as Obamacare, will exacerbate the system’s existing problems, and make it even more difficult to obtain medical care at reasonable rates as the strain on the program grows.
By Marc Joffe |
Apr 03, 2014

Prescription drugs account for about 10 percent of U.S. health care costs-or 1.8 percent of GDP. This does not include the cost of otherwise unnecessary medical appointments to obtain prescriptions and the time wasted at pharmacies waiting for prescriptions to be filled. By relaxing the prescription drug restrictions and reforming the patent system the government can unlock the competitive forces that drive prices down and empower individuals to avoid unnecessary, expensive medical services.
By Robert Graboyes, Mario Villarreal |
Mar 31, 2014

The White House recently began a Spanish-language media blitz encouraging people to sign up for the Affordable Care Act, which, for the lowest-income Americans, means Medicaid. Having a Medicaid card in your wallet is better for your health and well-being than having no coverage at all. But it’s also worse for your health and well-being than just about any other form of health insurance in America.


In his latest Mercatus on Policy essay, economist Matthew Mitchell makes the case that current US farm policy is neither equitable nor efficient. Both conservatives who value free markets and liberals who value social justice should be clamoring for reform.



Marc Joffe | April 11, 2014
Marc Joffe Discusses the Cost of Pharmaceutical Drugs on the John Batchelor Show

Upcoming Events

Recent Events

To explore the fiscal realities of the ACA and discuss principles for successful healthcare reform, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University invites you to join us for a new Capitol Hill Campus featuring Dr. Robert Graboyes, Mercatus Center senior research fellow specializing in the economics of healthcare.


Media Clippings

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.”…
| Jul 30, 2012
Mercatus Center research cited in The Washington Times…
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