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.

Recent Findings

  • A person in pajamas and slippers walking to the bathroom at the night, photo by Sergey Dogadin/Getty Images


    Waking Up to the Costs of Nocturia

    Jun 18, 2019

    Nocturia is a troublesome lower urinary tract condition that causes people to wake up two or more times a night to empty their bladder. Researchers calculated the overall economic cost associated with nocturia in a working-age population across six countries.

  • An illustration of a human's moral compass, image by Trifonov_Evgeniy/Getty Images


    Ethics in Scientific Research

    Jun 5, 2019

    An analysis of how ethics are created, monitored, and enforced finds which ethical principles are common across scientific disciplines, how these ethics might vary geographically, and how emerging topics are shaping future ethics.

  • Bags of fentanyl at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection area at the International Mail Facility at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, November 29, 2017, photo by Joshua Lott/Reuters


    China's Ban on Fentanyl Drugs Won't Likely Stem America's Opioid Crisis

    May 22, 2019

    Given China's recent decision to ban the unauthorized manufacture of fentanyl, authorities there appear to recognize a growing problem. But China cannot solve the U.S. opioid problem. The United States could do more to reduce demand for opioids as well as drug users' exposure to these powerful drugs.

  • East and Southeast Asia on a globe, photo by fpdress/Getty Images


    Contemporary Asian Drug Policy

    May 15, 2019

    An analysis of drug use, drug supply, and the burden of disease associated with illegal drugs in Asia can inform policies aiming to reduce substance use disorders and drug trafficking. Three case studies show how drug policy is shifting in the Philippines, Thailand, and China.

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


    Private Health Plans Pay Hospitals Much More Than What Medicare Would Pay

    May 9, 2019

    An examination of U.S. hospital prices covering 25 states shows that in 2017, the prices paid to hospitals for privately insured patients averaged 241 percent of what Medicare would have paid. There was also wide variation in prices among states.

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  • Attentive young doctor talks with female patient

    What Are the Potential Impacts of Single-Payer Health Care?

    Jan 23, 2019

    What do policymakers need to know when thinking about single-payer proposals and their likely effects on cost and access? Jodi Liu and Christine Eibner will discuss some key characteristics of single-payer health care proposals and their likely impact as well as common misconceptions and areas of uncertainty. [Washington, D.C.]

  • A cannabis farm in eastern Washington state

    States vs. the Federal Government: Marijuana Legalization in the United States

    Jun 9, 2017

    As the marijuana policy landscape continues to change from state to state, the substance remains illegal under federal law. How can action abroad help inform policy in the United States, and what are Congress' options?

  • Doctor and patient in waiting room

    Repeal, Replace, Repair, or Improve? The Future of the ACA

    Mar 17, 2017

    With a new administration in the White House, Congress is taking a renewed look at the Affordable Care Act. RAND senior economist Christine Eibner will brief legislators on the impacts of policies proposed by both sides of the aisle. [Washington, DC]

  • Stethoscope and U.S. currency

    Premium Tax Credits and the Affordable Care Act: The Potential Ramifications of King v. Burwell

    Feb 3, 2015

    In February 2015, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of King v. Burwell, a challenge to the legality of the regulation authorizing premium tax credits in federally facilitated exchanges. What does this mean for the Affordable Care Act and consumers in these states?

  • Marijuana plants

    Insights About Marijuana Legalization in the United States

    Jan 21, 2015

    Marijuana legalization is a complex issue under serious debate. As Vermont prepares to vote on legalization, this briefing reviews a RAND report that analyzes income-earning potential for the state, marijuana policy in the U.S. and abroad, alternatives to marijuana prohibition, and how federal-state conflicts can impact policy choices.

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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.

  • 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.

  • Sgt. John Kriesel receives treatment from a therapist while his wife, Katie, comforts him at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, February 9, 2007

    In Case You Missed It: Creating Better Support for Our Nation's Hidden Heroes

    Jun 28, 2017

    RAND conducted the first-ever study on the roles and risks of military and veteran caregivers in 2014. Now, a new research blueprint provides policymakers with an understanding of where more research is needed to improve the lives of these caregivers.

  • A cannabis farm in eastern Washington state

    In Case You Missed It: Marijuana Legalization in the United States

    Jun 21, 2017

    While the number of states legalizing marijuana for both medical and non-medical use continues to grow, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Beau Kilmer gives a briefing on the options the government has for addressing marijuana policy.

  • House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (left), House Speaker Paul Ryan (center), and Congressman Greg Walden hold a news conference on the American Health Care Act in Washington, March 7, 2017

    What Does Research Say About Potential Health Plan Proposals?

    Jun 14, 2017

    RAND experts have analyzed proposed alternatives to replace parts of the Affordable Care Act, examining how policy changes would affect people with pre-existing conditions; the impact on consumers of excluding some essential health benefits; and the impact of a continuous coverage requirement.

  • Opioid drug addiction

    In Case You Missed It: Funding Considerations in the Fight Against the Opioid Epidemic

    May 24, 2017

    Rosalie Liccardo Pacula testified before Congress and discussed RAND research on the causes of the opioid epidemic and the effectiveness of treatment methods such as drug monitoring programs.

  • Distressed soldier with counselor

    In Case You Missed It: Preventing Veteran Suicide

    May 19, 2017

    Suicide is a public health threat that affects all demographics, but recently attention has been focused on the risk of suicide among veterans. Preventative measures could include strengthening community-based programs for those who do not receive care at the VA.

  • A doctor talking with a patient in a waiting room

    In Case You Missed It: Repeal, Replace, Repair, or Improve? The Future of the ACA

    Apr 6, 2017

    In this congressional briefing, Christine Eibner discusses her research on the Affordable Care Act and the impacts of health care policies proposed by both sides of the aisle. She presents potential tensions and considerations that policymakers will need to address.

  • Stethoscope on an American flag

    Health Care Issues in the 115th Congress

    Mar 24, 2017

    RAND research examines a wide range of health care issues important to the 115th Congress: the Affordable Care Act and potential policy alternatives, health care delivery approaches, public health issues, drug policy, and veterans' health care issues.

  • Donald Trump shakes hands with Hillary Clinton at the start of the first presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, September 26, 2016

    Estimating the Impacts of the Trump and Clinton Health Plans

    Oct 18, 2016

    How do the major party candidates' plans address the biggest issues facing health care reform? RAND experts estimated the impacts of the Trump and Clinton health plans on the number of uninsured, costs for consumers, and the federal deficit.

  • Speaker of the House Paul Ryan talks to reporters during an event to discuss the Republican Party's anti-poverty plan at House of Help City of Hope in the Anacostia neighborhood of Washington, June 7, 2016

    Informing Decisions on Health Care Reform

    Aug 2, 2016

    The House Republicans have released their health care reform plan, which is described as the starting point for new legislation in the 115th Congress. RAND experts examine the key features of this plan, the impact, and potential costs.

  • View to an operating room through an office window

    Ransomware Hackers Are Coming for Your Health Records

    Apr 27, 2016

    Cybercriminals may be preying on hospitals because cyber protection measures likely have not kept pace with electronic data collection and because hospitals typically do not have backup systems and databases in place. These kind of attacks can strain health care systems and potentially put patients' lives at risk.

  • A Kaiser Permanente health clinic opens up inside a Target retail department store in San Diego, California November 17, 2014

    Retail Clinics May Increase Medical Spending, Rather Than Trim Costs

    Mar 31, 2016

    Retail clinics have been touted as a way to decrease health care spending. But, a new study found that retail clinics may actually drive up medical spending by creating demand for new medical services.

  • Woman paying cash for prescription medications at pharmacy

    Bringing Sky-High Prescription Drug Prices Down to Earth

    Dec 17, 2015

    In the U.S. pharmaceutical market, it may seem like anything goes, but it doesn't have to: Increased competition among drug companies and improved bargaining power of insurers and consumers could help keep high prescription prices in check.

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