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

  • Commentary

    The Perils of Connecting Our Bodies to the Internet

    Oct 15, 2018

    High-tech health care solutions are part of an emerging sector of medical technologies that monitor personal health data by essentially connecting your body to the Internet. As smart devices in health care evolve, the line between human and machine is blurring, and creating new concerns about consumer safety and privacy rights.

  • Commentary

    A Threat to Immigrant Health Care with Potential Consequences for All

    Oct 12, 2018

    The proposed changes to the “public charge” rule could jeopardize decades of progress towards improved health care access and health for immigrants and U.S. citizens. Negative effects may include worse health outcomes, increased use of emergency rooms, and increased prevalence of communicable diseases.

  • Commentary

    In Opioid Policy, One Size Does Not Fit All

    Oct 12, 2018

    Congress is addressing the opioid epidemic through new legislation intended to increase access to treatment using medications such as methadone and buprenorphine. Further investments may be required to make counseling more available, increase Medicaid reimbursement for drug treatment, and reduce the stigma associated with mental health treatment.

  • Commentary

    How Smartphone Apps Could Help Keep Health Records Accurate

    Oct 4, 2018

    Electronic health records have helped streamline record keeping but providers aren't always able to reliably pull together records for the same patient from different hospitals, clinics, and doctor's offices. The growing use of smartphones offers a promising opportunity to improve record matching.

  • Commentary

    Achieving the Trump Administration's National Biodefense Strategy

    Oct 2, 2018

    The Trump administration recently published its National Biodefense Strategy, which says that managing the risk of biological threats is in the “vital interest” of the United States, however they might present. The document provides a solid foundation, but more may be required to fully realize its goals and objectives.

More Research on Health, Health Care, and Aging


More Health Briefings

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: 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 24/7 Sobriety Project: A Promising New Way to Curb Problem Drinking and Reduce Costs

    Aug 20, 2015

    Recently, the Senate took steps to expand funding for 24/7 Sobriety Programs, like one in South Dakota. These programs are a promising and innovative way to help curb problem drinking and improve public health.

  • Will Increasing Access to Treatment Help Stop the Opioid Overdose Crisis?

    Aug 18, 2015

    Heroin-related overdose deaths quadrupled from 2002 to 2013, and many people who used heroin were also addicted to other substances, like prescription opioid painkillers. A RAND study shows how the growth in physicians permitted to prescribe buprenorphine may help increase access to effective opioid addiction treatment.

  • What's at Stake in King v. Burwell?

    Feb 26, 2015

    The Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case of King v. Burwell on March 4. RAND research explains the role of premium tax credits in ensuring stability in the individual insurance market and gives insight into what might happen if the court rules to invalidate subsidies in states with federally facilitated marketplaces.

  • What's On the Health Care Agenda for the 114th Congress?

    Jan 29, 2015

    The health policy legislative agenda for the new Congress may have far-reaching effects for Americans, starting with the Affordable Care Act and including health care costs, telemedicine, prescription drugs and innovation, caregiving, Medicare payment, and public health.

  • Affordable Care Act: Subsidies Elimination or Individual Mandate Would Lower Enrollment and Hike Premiums

    Oct 30, 2014

    As the Affordable Care Act's second open enrollment period approaches, efforts to improve enrollment are under scrutiny. But, issues could impact major provisions of the law, including a legal challenge to tax credits in states with federally run exchanges.

  • "Ask Me Anything" About Ebola and Other Infectious Diseases

    Oct 17, 2014

    With West Africa's Ebola outbreak reaching distant shores, is the U.S. prepared to contain this threat? Members of Congress hear from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director, Thomas Frieden. Also hear reactions from RAND's Melinda Moore in an "Ask Me Anything" session about Ebola.

  • Lessons to Learn from the Ebola Outbreak

    Sep 16, 2014

    The World Health Organization has announced that the Ebola outbreak is still accelerating. While hundreds of lives have been lost and more fatalities are expected, there are key lessons to be learned and reasons to be optimistic about fighting this disease.

  • State Medicaid Showdowns Heat Up As Summer Starts

    Jul 9, 2014

    As some states continue to battle over whether to expand their Medicaid programs, RAND research can help provide insight on what's at stake for residents in states that do not expand their programs. States that don't expand Medicaid may have lower direct state budgetary costs, but they may miss out on economic growth and pay more to care for the uninsured.

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2010 and prior

Insights on the Effects of Marijuana Legalization on Prices and Consumption

Beau Kilmer

Testimony presented before the California State Assembly Public Safety Committee and California State Senate Public Safety Committee on September 20, 2010.

An Assessment of the Scientific Support Underlying the FY2011 Budget Priorities of the Office of National Drug Control Policy

Rosalie Liccardo Pacula

Testimony presented before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on Domestic Policy on April 14, 2010.

Children on the Home Front: The Experiences of Children from Military Families

Anita Chandra

Testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Military Personnel on March 9, 2010.

October 28, 2009
Legalizing Marijuana: Issues to Consider Before Reforming California State Law

Rosalie Liccardo Pacula

Testimony presented before the California State Assembly Public Safety Committee.

October 27, 2009
Issues in "Meaningful Use" of Health Information Technology for Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

Harold Alan Pincus

Testimony presented before the Health Information Technology Policy Committee of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

April 29, 2009
Gauging Future Demand for Veterans' Health Care: Does the VA Have the Forecasting Tools It Needs?

Katherine M. Harris

Testimony presented before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee.

March 24, 2009
Assessing Combat Exposure and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in Troops and Estimating the Costs to Society: Implications from the RAND Invisible Wounds of War Study

Terri Tanielian

Testimony presented before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.

September 23, 2008
Health Insurance Market Rating Practices

John Bertko

Testimony presented before the Senate Finance Committee.

July 17, 2008
The Potential Benefits and Costs of Increased Adoption of Health Information Technology

Richard Hillestad

Testimony presented before the Senate Finance Committee.

June 30, 2008
Assessing Health and Health Care in the District of Columbia

Carole Gresenz

Testimony presented before the DC City Council Committee on Health.

Testimony unavailable - oral remarks only.

June 12, 2008
Invisible Wounds of War: Quantifying the Societal Costs of Psychological and Cognitive Injuries

Christine Eibner

Testimony presented before the Joint Economic Committee.

June 11, 2008
Invisible Wounds of War: Recommendations for Addressing Psychological and Cognitive Injuries

Terri Tanielian

Testimony presented before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

June 11, 2008
Invisible Wounds of War: Summary of Key Findings on Psychological and Cognitive Injuries

Lisa H. Jaycox

Testimony presented before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

June 3, 2008
The Case for Keeping Quality on the Health Reform Agenda

Elizabeth A. McGlynn

Testimony presented before the Senate Committee on Finance.

April 2, 2008
Availability of Drinking Water in California Public Schools

Mark A. Schuster

Testimony presented before the California State Assembly Subcommittee on Education.

March 12, 2008
What Research Tells Us About the Reasonableness of the Current Priorities of National Drug Control

Rosalie Liccardo Pacula

Testimony presented before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on Domestic Policy.

June 20, 2007
Perspective on B17-076

Nicole Lurie

Written testimony submitted to the Council of the District of Columbia, Committee on Health.

March 28, 2006
Public Health Preparedness in the 21st Century

Nicole Lurie

Testimony presented before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Subcommittee on Bioterrorism and Public Health Preparedness.

September 20, 2005
Consumer-Directed Health Plans: Research on Implications for Health Care Quality and Cost

Cheryl M. Damberg

Testimony presented to the California Department of Insurance.

April 21, 2005
Initiatives to Control Military Health Costs

S. D. Hosek

Testimony presented to the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Personnel.

February 28, 2005
Public Health Preparedness in California: Lessons from Seven Jurisdiction

Jeffrey Wasserman

Testimony presented to the California State Assembly Budget Committee, Subcommittee on Health and Human Services.

June 2, 2004
Public Health Preparedness in California: Lessons from Seven Jurisdictions

Nicole Lurie

Testimony presented to the California State Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.

June 17, 2003
Statement on the Final Report of the President's Task Force to Improve Health Care Delivery for Our Nation's Veterans

C. Ross Anthony

Testimony presented before the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

Testimony not available

May 30, 2003
Ephedra: Is It Worth the Risk?

Paul G. Shekelle, Sally C. Morton, Margaret Maglione, Mary L. Hardy, Marika Suttorp, Elizabeth Roth, Lara Jungvig, Walter Mojica, James Gagne, Shannon Rhodes, E. McKinnon, and Sydne Newberry

Testimony submitted for the Record to the New York State Senate Committee on Consumer Protection.

January 15, 2003
Inflation in Hospital Charges: Implications for the California Workers' Compensation Program

Barbara O. Wynn

Testimony presented before the California State Senate Labor and Industrial Relations Committee.

June 10, 2002
After 9/11: Stress and Coping Across America

Mark A. Schuster, Bradley Stein, Lisa Jaycox, Rebecca L. Collins, Grant N. Marshall, Marc N. Elliott, Annie Jie Zhou, David E. Kanouse, J.L. Morrison, and Sanda H. Berry

Testimony presented before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions field hearing.

November 6, 2001
Anthrax Attacks, Biological Terrorism and Preventive Responses

John V. Parachini

Testimony presented to the Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism, and Government Information, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate.

July 13, 2001
The Costs of Covering Mental Health and Substance Abuse Care at the Same Level as Medical Care in Private Insurance Plans

Roland Sturm

Testimony presented to the Health Insurance Committee, National Conference of Insurance Legislators.

April 4, 2000
Testimony on Drug Treatment Alternatives to Incarceration

Martin Y. Iguchi

Testimony presented to the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives.

February 17, 2000
What Is SAMHSA Doing to Help Communities Make Good Decisions About the Allocation of Scarce Treatment Resources?

Martin Y. Iguchi

Testimony presented to the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives.

October 21, 1999
Effects of Substance Abuse Parity in Private Insurance Plans Under Managed Care

Roland Sturm

Testimony presented to the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy and Human Resources, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives.

All Testimony


More Research on Health, Health Care, and Aging