Eleanor N. Powell
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1050 Bascom Mall
Madison, Wisconsin, 53706
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|August 2017||Politics, Hospital Behavior, and Health Care Spending|
with Zack Cooper, Amanda E Kowalski, Jennifer Wu: w23748
This paper examines the link between legislative politics, hospital behavior, and health care spending. When trying to pass sweeping legislation, congressional leaders can attract votes by adding targeted provisions that steer money toward the districts of reluctant legislators. This targeted spending provides tangible local benefits that legislators can highlight when fundraising or running for reelection. We study a provision - Section 508 – that was added to the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act (MMA). Section 508 created a pathway for hospitals to apply to get their Medicare payment rates increased. We find that hospitals represented by members of the House of Representatives who voted ‘Yea’ on the MMA were significantly more likely to receive a 508 waiver than hospitals represented by m...