NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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The Impacts of Physician Payments on Patient Access, Use, and Health

Diane Alexander, Molly Schnell

NBER Working Paper No. 26095
Issued in July 2019
NBER Program(s):Children, Economics of Education, Health Care, Health Economics, Public Economics

We examine how the amount a physician is paid influences who they are willing to see. Exploiting large, exogenous changes in Medicaid reimbursement rates, we find that increasing payments for new patient office visits reduces reports of providers turning away beneficiaries: closing the gap in payments between Medicaid and private insurers would reduce more than two-thirds of disparities in access among adults and would eliminate disparities among children. These improvements in access lead to more office visits, better self-reported health, and reduced school absenteeism. Our results demonstrate that financial incentives for physicians drive access to care and have important implications for patient health.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26095

 
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