By Tara Templin
In this study published in the American Journal of Managed Care, the authors found that premiums for ACA Marketplace plans were higher in rating areas in which physician, hospital, and insurance markets were less competitive.
Although policymakers have increasingly turned to provider report cards as a tool to improve health care quality, existing studies provide mixed evidence that they influence consumer choices. We examine the effects of providing consumers with quality information in the context of fertility clinics providing Assisted Reproductive Therapies (ART). We report three main findings. First, clinics with higher birthrates had larger market shares after relative to before the adoption of report cards.
Evidence from the United States suggests that technological change is a key factor in understanding both medical expenditure growth and recent dramatic improvements in the health of people with serious illnesses. Yet little international research has examined how the causes and consequences of technological change in health care differ worldwide. Seeking to illuminate these issues, this volume documents how use of high-technology treatments for heart attack changed in fifteen developed countries over the 1980s and 1990s.
Because the optimal level of medical malpractice liability depends on the incentives provided by the health insurance system, the rise of managed care in the 1990s may affect the relationship between liability reform and defensive medicine. In this paper, we assess empirically the extent to which managed care and liability reform interact to affect the cost of care and health outcomes of elderly Medicare beneficiaries with cardiac illness.
Previous research suggests that "direct" reforms to the liability system - reforms designed to reduce the level of compensation to potential claimants - reduce medical expenditures without important consequences for patient health outcomes. We extend this research by identifying the mechanisms through which reforms affect the behavior of health care providers.
Health care report cards - public disclosure of patient health outcomes at the level of the individual physician and/or hospital - may address important informational asymmetries in markets for health care, but they may also give doctors and hospitals incentives to decline to treat more difficult, severely ill patients. Whether report cards are good for patients and for society depends on whether their financial and health benefits outweigh their costs in terms of the quantity, quality, and appropriateness of medical treatment that they induce.
We present four findings. First, physicians from states enacting liability reforms that directly reduce malpractice pressure experience lower growth over time in malpractice claims rates and in real malpractice insurance premiums. Second, physicians from reforming states report significant relative declines in the perceived impact of malpractice pressure on practice patterns.
"Defensive medicine" is a potentially serious social problem: if fear of liability drives health care providers to administer treatments that do not have worthwhile medical benefits, then the current liability system may generate inefficiencies many times greater than the costs of compensating malpractice claimants. To obtain direct empirical evidence on this question, we analyze the effects of malpractice liability reforms using data on all elderly Medicare beneficiaries treated for serious heart disease in 1984, 1987, and 1990.