Public Liabilities and Health Care Policy
NBER Working Paper No. 18571
Many countries have large future public liabilities attributable to health care programs. However, little explicit analysis exists about how health care policies affect these program liabilities. We analyze how reimbursement and approval policies affect public liabilities through their impact on the returns to medical innovation, a central factor driving spending growth. We consider how policies impact innovative returns through expected earnings, their risk-adjustment, and their timing and defaults through the approval process. Our analysis implies that cutbacks in government programs may raise government liabilities and expansions may lower them. We quantitatively calibrate these non-standard effects for the US Medicare program.
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This paper was revised on May 31, 2013