Yale economist receives three grants to examine pricing dynamics within health care industry
Over the last six months, Professor Zack Cooper has received three grants to fund his work looking at pricing dynamics within the U.S. health care industry and studying why health care spending is rising.
Cooper is assistant professor of public health and of economics and director of health policy at the Institution for Social and Policy Studies
In his work, which is now being supported by the Commonwealth Fund and the National Institute for Health Care Management, Cooper and his colleagues will analyze a newly developed database that includes all insurance claims for nearly one-third of privately insured Americans. Over the last three years, Cooper and his colleagues have worked with the Health Care Cost Institute, an independent, non-profit research organization, to develop this database, which is composed of detailed micro-data provided de-identified by Aetna, UnitedHealth, and Humana.
Together with John Van Reenen (London School of Economics) and Martin Gaynor (Carnegie Mellon), Cooper and his team will examine the pricing dynamics within the U.S. health care industry. They will focus on examining the wide variation in health care providers’ prices within and across markets in the United States and seek to determine the factors lead some providers to price their services at 300% higher than their competitors, despite offering the same services. Cooper and his team will also look at the growth in health-care prices and seek to determine why some regions and some hospitals have prices that are growing faster than other areas. Finally, the research team will examine whether high priced providers actually deliver higher quality care.
In separate work with the same data, Cooper and Michael Chernew (Harvard) will examine health care spending growth, broken down by diseases. Traditionally, health care spending is organized analyzed across service lines, such as inpatient care, outpatient care, physician services, and pharmaceuticals. In this work, Cooper and Chernew will examine whether the growth health spending across diseases (i.e. breast cancer and diabetes) has been uniform or if certain diseases are responsible for the bulk of spending growth for the privately insured in the 2000s. Cooper and Chernew will use this information to work to try to better understand why health care grew more quickly than the rest of the economy in the 2000s.
John Van Reenen is a Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics, where he serves as Director of the Centre for Economic Performance.
The Commonwealth Fund is a national, private foundation based in New York City that supports independent research on health care issues and makes grants to improve health care practice and policy.
The NIHCM Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the effectiveness, efficiency and quality of America’s health care system.
The Health Care Cost Institute is a non-partisan, non-profit organization with a public-interest mission. Its overarching goal is to provide complete, accurate, unbiased information about health care utilization and costs to better understand the U.S. health care system. Through research and access to a large health insurance claims database, HCCI seeks to offer answers to critical questions about health care spending and utilization for the entire privately insured health population.