Health Issues

This page offers an easy way for policymakers to access health research and analysis that is relevant to current Congressional agendas. For additional information, to request documents, or to arrange a briefing, contact the RAND Office of Congressional Relations at or (703) 413-1100, ext. 5643.

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  • Man at home working on a computer, photo by monkeybusinessimages/Getty Images


    Should the Federal Workforce Stay Remote? Planning for After the Crisis

    Apr 3, 2020

    As physical distancing becomes the new norm, so too does telework. But should federal agencies maintain their remote operations for the long haul? As those of us involved with national security agencies, operations, and workforce issues know, this is not a decision to make lightly.

  • A worn-down prison block, photo by Tracy King/Adobe Stock


    Incarceration Rates: A Key Measure of Health in America

    Apr 3, 2020

    There's widespread agreement that incarceration has adverse effects on health and health equity, not just for prisoners but also for families and communities. That's one important reason why incarceration in the United States needs to be reduced.

  • Blog

    COVID-19's Effects on Mental Health, Food Access, and Education: RAND Weekly Recap

    Apr 3, 2020

    This weekly recap focuses on COVID-19 and mental health, food security challenges during the pandemic, supporting children while schools are closed, and more.

  • Agricultural workers clean carrot crops of weeds amid an outbreak of COVID-19 at a farm near Arvin, California, April 3, 2020, photo by Shannon Stapleton/Reuters


    Forgotten on the Frontlines of the Food Supply Chain

    Apr 3, 2020

    The working and living conditions of farmworkers make practicing social distancing, self-isolation, or quarantine impossible. In the food supply, farmworkers are the first responders who keep the supply chains going. FEMA, the CDC, and state governments should include farmworkers and agricultural communities in their emergency response plans.

  • Hospital workers are seen near a tent erected to test for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in Brooklyn, New York, March 19, 2020, photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters


    New Tool Can Help Health Officials Plan for COVID-19 Patient Surge

    Apr 3, 2020

    Hospitals are searching for ways to ramp up their surge capacity to provide critical care for the sickest COVID-19 patients. A new, user-friendly calculator enables decisionmakers at all levels to estimate current critical care capacity and rapidly explore strategies for increasing it.

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Alerts & Newsletters

RAND periodically sends alerts and newsletters to update Congress on highlights of recent work about health and health care.

  • In Case You Missed It: How Does COVID-19 Impact Small and Medium-Sized Businesses?

    Mar 24, 2020

    Social distancing is the only current public health tool to contain the spread of COVID-19, but it will negatively impact small and medium-sized businesses. RAND's Jennifer Bouey shares some policy options to support these businesses and their employees.

  • Nurses Becky Barton and Jess White help nurse Jeff Gates take off protective gear after interacting with a patient at a drive-through testing site for coronavirus, flu and RSV, currently by appointment for employees at UW Medical Center Northwest in Seattle, Washington, March 9, 2020, photo by Lindsey Wasson/Reuters

    RAND COVID-19 Resources

    Mar 13, 2020

    As nationwide community spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) increases, policymakers are grappling with what actions are appropriate and necessary to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on communities, the economy, the nation's health, and the U.S. health care system.

  • In Case You Missed It: From SARS to the Coronavirus

    Feb 18, 2020

    China's battle against the coronavirus highlights the importance of transparency and open collaboration among scientists globally. RAND's Jennifer Bouey shares some ways the United States can help China manage the pandemic.

  • Pill bottle with pills spilled out of it, photo by Moussa81/Getty Images

    Health Care Issues in 2020

    Jan 14, 2020

    What are some of the health care issues at the forefront of the congressional agenda in 2020? RAND experts offer up insight on a variety of topics, including the opioid crisis, drug pricing, delivery of care, and more.

  • In Case You Missed It: Approaching the U.S. Opioid Crisis as an Ecosystem

    Jan 9, 2020

    RAND's Bradley Stein explains why we should approach the opioid crisis as an ecosystem instead of focusing on individual areas. He says employing a broader view of the crisis will help those confronting it better prepare for the challenges ahead.

  • A patient sitting on an MRI machine talking to a medical professional, photo by laflor/Getty Images

    What are the Potential Effects of Medicare Buy-In?

    Dec 5, 2019

    Using RAND's COMPARE microsimulation model, researchers found that a Medicare buy-in proposal could offer significantly more-affordable coverage to older adults but might also lead to higher premiums for some people remaining on the individual market.

  • A variety of prescription pills and capsules formed into a dollar sign, photo by ADragan/Getty Images

    The Promise and Peril of Offshoring Prescription Drug Pricing

    Oct 28, 2019

    The President, Congress, and most Americans agree prescription drug prices are too high. After years of drug price and spending growth, 2019 has so far seen an explosion of policy proposals from both parties that could promise some relief.

  • In Case You Missed It: Preparing for the Future of Fentanyl

    Sep 30, 2019

    In this congressional briefing, Bryce Pardo and Beau Kilmer discuss factors that have contributed to the rise of synthetic opioids like fentanyl in the U.S. What do policymakers need to consider in their efforts to address this threat in the United States?

  • The Future of Fentanyl: Are Existing Drug Policy Tools Enough?

    Sep 4, 2019

    The U.S. overdose crisis has worsened dramatically with the arrival of synthetic opioids like fentanyl. A new RAND report found that deaths involving synthetic opioids increased from roughly 3,000 in 2013 to more than 30,000 in 2018.

  • In Case You Missed It: Implications of U.S.-China Collaborations on Global Health Issues

    Aug 27, 2019

    As the world's two largest economies, the United States and China face increasingly similar public health challenges. RAND's Jennifer Bouey outlines some potential initiatives that should be considered for future U.S.-China collaborations.

  • Overdose rescue kits on a table during an Opioid Overdose Prevention Training class provided by Lourdes Hospital in Binghamton, New York, April 5, 2018

    The Surge of Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids

    Aug 14, 2019

    How is the illicit flow of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids impacting communities across the United States? A recent RAND report examined mortality and seizure data at the state level across several drug classes to better understand the evolution and concentration of overdose fatalities in the United States.

  • In Case You Missed It: Illicit Supply of Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids

    Aug 1, 2019

    RAND's Bryce Pardo discusses how illicitly manufactured synthetic opioids, often from China, are changing the U.S. drug policy landscape. He outlines four potential policy responses to combat the synthetic opioid crisis.

  • Calculator and mobile phone on top of medical invoice, photo by DNY59/Getty Images

    Addressing Surprise Medical Bills Without Raising the Cost of Health Care

    Jun 21, 2019

    As more patients experience unexpected charges after they receive medical care, numerous legislative proposals have been introduced in Congress to address the issue of surprise medical bills.

  • In Case You Missed It: How to Reduce Suicide Among U.S. Veterans and Service Members

    Jun 3, 2019

    The rate at which veterans and service members die by suicide is a national security problem that requires a comprehensive approach. RAND's Terri Tanielian outlines six priorities for addressing the challenge of suicide.

  • Calculator and mobile phone on top of medical invoice, photo by DNY59/Getty Images

    What Do Private Health Plans Pay Hospitals Compared to Medicare?

    May 22, 2019

    The majority of the U.S. population is enrolled in a private health plan. A recent report examined U.S. hospital prices for 25 states and discovered that in 2017, the prices paid to hospitals for privately insured patients averaged 241 percent of what Medicare would have paid.

  • Doctor and patient are discussing at clinic, photo by sebra/Adobe Stock

    National Spending Estimates Under Medicare for All

    Apr 16, 2019

    Some policymakers are examining "Medicare-for-All" proposals that would provide comprehensive health care coverage to the population nationwide. According to a new report, national spending under a Medicare-for-All plan would be $3.89 trillion in 2019, or a 1.8 percent increase relative to the costs under current law.

  • Hepatitis C virus model, 3D illustration by Dr_Microbe/Getty Images

    How is the Opioid Crisis Driving the Rise in Hepatitis C?

    Apr 2, 2019

    The hepatitis C virus is responsible for more deaths in the United States than any other infectious disease. Hepatitis C infections have been rising at an alarming rate since 2010.

  • Jodi Liu discusses considerations for policymakers thinking about single-payer proposals

    In Case You Missed It: What Are the Potential Impacts of Single-Payer Health Care?

    Feb 6, 2019

    Controlling costs while improving health care access dominates policy debates in Congress. Some policymakers are increasingly discussing “Medicare-for-All” proposals. During a recent RAND congressional briefing, Jodi Liu discussed considerations for policymakers thinking about single-payer proposals and their likely effects on cost and access.

  • Prescription opioids

    Considering Health Care Policy in the 116th Congress

    Jan 30, 2019

    What are the biggest health care policy issues facing the 116th Congress? RAND experts offer up insight on a variety of topics, including the opioid crisis, health care payment and delivery, veterans' health issues, and more.

  • E-cigarette held by a young woman

    The Impact of E-Cigarettes on Youth

    Nov 1, 2018

    Teenage usage of e-cigarettes has been the target of recent government scrutiny, including a September declaration by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that usage of e-cigarettes by youth has reached “epidemic” levels.

  • Printer ink bottles containing carfentanil imported from China, seized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Vancouver.

    In Case You Missed It: Evolution of the U.S. Overdose Crisis

    Sep 21, 2018

    RAND's Bryce Pardo discusses China's role in the production and supply of synthetic opioids and outlines some actions lawmakers can take to reduce this problem beyond traditional drug policy tools.

  • Female patient and doctor have consultation in hospital room

    What are the effects of eliminating the individual mandate penalty?

    Aug 16, 2018

    Starting in 2019, the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate penalty will be eliminated. According to a new study, 3 million to 13 million fewer people would have health insurance by 2020 and most premiums for individual market plans would increase by 3 to 13 percent, depending on which assumptions are in play.

  • A billboard advertises marijuana in advance of the legalization of recreational marijuana in San Francisco, California, December 29, 2017

    What are the Impacts of Medical Marijuana Advertising on Adolescents?

    Jul 31, 2018

    As legalization of recreational marijuana becomes prevalent across multiple states, many policymakers will face complex choice when it comes to regulations.

  • Nursing home residents having coffee

    How Many Americans Will Need Nursing Home Care and At What Cost?

    Nov 8, 2017

    More than half of Americans will need a nursing home during their lifetime. For most people, these stays will be short and relatively affordable. But a small portion of people will have longer stays and significantly higher out-of-pocket spending.

  • Older woman gets help with her tax documents

    Analysis of Health Care Tax Subsidies Under the ACA and its Alternatives

    Jul 13, 2017

    A new report compares the implications of different tax-based approaches to subsidizing health insurance enrollment in the individual market.

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