Alumni Impact Fund 2014: Winning Projects

RAND’s president and CEO, Michael Rich, created the Alumni Impact Fund, which provides resources that help RAND researchers boost the visibility and influence of their analyses. After he put out a call for projects that would have greater policy impact if awarded an infusion of post-research funding, donors who contributed to this year’s Alumni Impact Fund campaign were invited to select from among several projects. The votes have been tallied and the following two projects have been awarded Impact Fund support. Congratulations to the recipients, and thanks to all who supported the 2014 Alumni Impact Fund!

Changes to the Affordable Care Act

RAND analyzed how changes to the ACA—such as eliminating tax credits, converting tax credits to vouchers, and eliminating the individual mandate—might influence premiums and enrollment in the health insurance Marketplaces. Researchers also considered how shifts in enrollment among “young invincibles” might affect premiums.

Update: June 25, 2015

With Alumni Impact Funds, Christine Eibner has been able to respond quickly and strategically to opportunities for impact in the policy landscape. Her research has proven extremely relevant to the ACA debate. In fact, it was cited in the June 25 Supreme Court decision to uphold the legality of subsidies to those who purchase health insurance on the federal exchange.

Christine's report (with Evan Saltzman) was cited by the Supreme Court in the King v. Burwell majority opinion

Earlier in 2015, when the White House filed a brief in the Supreme Court case King v. Burwell, it cited findings from Christine's report on the Affordable Care Act. A few weeks later, in anticipation of the March 4 oral arguments, Christine presented her findings in a congressional briefing, piquing interest among key policymakers.

She also wrote an op-ed; produced a series of graphically sophisticated research briefs on the topics covered in her research, designed to appeal to a well-informed lay audience and clarify key messages and results; and engaged targeted media outlets to better inform the public discourse.

“After the Impact award was granted, the Supreme Court decided to hear King v. Burwell, which challenges the legality of the ACA tax credits in states that didn't set up their own marketplaces,” she explained. “As a result of this award, we have been able to tailor our communications to specifically address the issues being heard by the Supreme Court and help inform the policy debate.”

Publications to Date

Use of Armed Drones

Debates about unmanned aerial vehicles are under way within the U.S. government, on Capitol Hill, and among defense industries.


Lynn Davis and Michael McNerney have written a series of blog posts to raise awareness about the findings of their report, Armed and Dangerous? UAVs and U.S. Security. The blogs were published just as the Obama administration made the public decision to sell armed drones to U.S. allies, a recommendation Lynn and Michael made in their third blog, Armed Drone Myth 3: Global Proliferation Demands Blanket Restrictions on Sales. The blogs caught the attention of national press. Additionally, Lynn and Michael hosted a workshop with senior officials from the Departments of State and Defense, as well as the Air Force, that addressed how the U.S. could take the lead in the design of international norms for the use of armed drones. Lynn and Michael also presented their findings on Capitol Hill.

The two researchers’ first blog addressed the “myth” that armed drones are transforming warfare: Armed Drone Myth 1: They Will Transform How War Is Waged Globally. Their second blog addressed the importance of developing international norms: Armed Drone Myth 2: It's Counterproductive to Develop International Norms.

The three blogs, as well as additional RAND research about drones, are available on a new NSRD project page.

Lynn was in Santa Monica on Saturday, April 18, for an Alumni Association breakfast and program. View photos and listen to a podcast.

Publications to Date