Congressional Briefing - June 24, 2010

The Impact of Air Pollution on Hospital Spending in California

doctor examines coughing child


John Romley


Thursday, June 24, 2010


2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.


234 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

About the Program

California–more than any other state–has people living in areas that do not meet federal air quality standards. RAND recently published a study that estimates spending on hospital care in California due to the harmful health effects of air pollution. John Romley, the report's lead author, will be in Washington, D.C., from California to brief the California delegation staff. The following are among the key research findings:

  • Nearly 30,000 hospital admissions and emergency room visits in California between 2005 and 2007 were attributed to poor air quality.
  • Resulting spending was about $193 million over the three-year period.
  • Public insurers Medicare and Medi-Cal spent the most—$104 million and $28 million, respectively—and private insurers spent $56 million.

The results suggest that publicly funded insurers as well as employers and private insurers would benefit financially from reductions in air pollution.

About the Speaker

John Romley's research focuses on health economics and policy. Romley has been assessing competition among hospitals in quality of care and patient satisfaction. He participated in the first nationwide study of disparities in alcohol retailing in urban neighborhoods, and also in an AHRQ-funded project that identified, categorized, and evaluated efficiency measures in health care. Romley has also led U.S. Department of Defense-funded studies of best practices and costs at pharmacies and of the financial performance of military treatment facilities. Romley received his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University.

About RAND

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND focuses on the issues that matter most such as health, education, national security, international affairs, law and business, the environment, and more. As a nonpartisan organization, RAND operates independent of political and commercial pressures. We serve the public interest by helping lawmakers reach informed decisions on the nation's pressing challenges.

Further Inquiries

For further information about this event, contact the Office of Congressional Relations at or call (703) 413-1100, ext. 5395.