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AN NBER PUBLICATION ISSUE: No. 3, October 2021

The Bulletin on Health

Summarizes recent NBER Working Papers pertaining to health topics. It is distributed digitally three times a year and is free
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In 2016, 80 percent of Medicaid enrollees received their insurance through private managed care plans. These private plans take responsibility for providing medical care for Medicaid recipients in exchange for a fixed per-enrollee payment from the state. These arrangements could restrain Medicaid spending if private firms had a greater incentive to control costs than the government does. However, such cost savings could have implications for patient health. Outcomes...

Research Summaries

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Article
Urgent care centers (UCCs) have proliferated in recent years: the share of zip codes served by a UCC rose from 28 percent in 2006 to 91 percent in 2019.  The implications of this market expansion for overall health care costs are not obvious. If UCCs divert patients from costly emergency departments (EDs), then UCC access could reduce costs. But, if UCCs initiate demand for additional services, they could raise costs. Researchers Janet Currie, Anastasia Karpova, and...
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Article
In two recent NBER working papers, researchers use variation in the taxation of tobacco products — including both cigarettes and e-cigarettes — to better understand tobacco use patterns and their implications. Both studies focus on state and local variation in the magnitude of tobacco taxes during adolescence, the age range when many users initiate smoking or vaping habits. In Intended and Unintended Effects of E-cigarette Taxes on Youth Tobacco Use (NBER Working...
Article
Nolan H. Miller is a research associate in the NBER’s programs on Health Care and on Environment and Energy Economics. He is the Daniel and Cynthia Mah Helle Professor of Finance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Miller’s research addresses economic questions related to health and the environment. In ongoing work, he is examining the effects of temperature, pollution, and natural disasters on health care use and health outcomes among Medicare...
Article
Health and Economic Outcomes Up to Three Years after a Workplace Wellness Program: A Randomized Controlled Trial Song Z, Baicker K. Health Affairs 40(6), June 2021, pp. 951−960.   Workplace wellness programs have been adopted by most large and many small US employers to try to improve employee health, lower health care spending, and improve productivity. While observational studies have suggested positive financial returns, in randomized trials these programs...
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