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

  • A hospital entrance, photo by DenisTangneyJr/Getty Images

    Prices Paid to Hospitals by Private Health Plans

    May 25, 2022

    A new RAND report shows that prices paid to hospitals during 2020 by employers and private insurers for both inpatient and outpatient services averaged 224 percent of what Medicare would have paid, with wide variation in prices among states.

  • Magnifying glass over papers titled Affordable Care Cat Plans, photo by zimmytws/Getty Images

    How Do Partisan Differences Affect ACA Marketplace Participation and Subsidy Use?

    Nov 1, 2021

    As the 2022 Open Enrollment Period opens, a recent study examines how political affiliation may affect decisions to enroll through the Affordable Care Act Marketplaces and receive subsidies.

  • A pharmacist scanning a bar code on a box of prescription medication, photo by MJ_Prototype/Getty Images

    International Reference Pricing Would Have Saved the U.S. $83.5 Billion in 2020

    Sep 13, 2021

    A new study from researchers at the RAND Corporation estimated potential savings on U.S. drug spending under these conditions and found that implementing international reference pricing along the lines of H.R. 3 would have lowered U.S. spending on certain prescription drugs by 52.3 percent, or $83.5 billion, in 2020.

  • An elderly married couple receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time inside the Korean Community Services center in the Queens borough of New York City, New York, February 11, 2021, photo by Anthony Behar/Reuters

    Initial COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign in the United States Prevented Nearly 140,000 Deaths

    Aug 26, 2021

    As the United States confronts an increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths fueled by the delta variant, a new study from researchers at the RAND Corporation and Indiana University provides support for policies that expand vaccine administration. The study finds that the first few months of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign prevented nearly 140,000 deaths and 3 million cases of COVID-19 nationwide.

  • Hospital bed in a hospital corridor, photo by PeopleImages/Getty Images

    Impacts of Consolidation and Integration on Health Systems

    Aug 4, 2021

    Public attention and regulatory scrutiny are increasingly focused on health care consolidation--both horizontal and vertical. A growing body of research sheds light on whether integration represents a value add to U.S. health care.

  • A parent taking a child's temperature on a virtual doctor visit, photo by chee gin tan/Getty Images

    The Future of Telehealth

    Apr 22, 2021

    Policymakers are considering whether to continue the expanded role that telehealth is playing in our health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic, and if so, how to do this while ensuring appropriate utilization.

  • Close up of a man holding cannabis products in a cannabis dispensary, photo by CasarsaGuru/Getty Images

    RAND Research on Marijuana

    Apr 13, 2021

    As policymakers consider legislative proposals to legalize marijuana, RAND experts can provide an objective and data-driven perspective on questions such as taxation design, health effects, and social equity.

  • Pills formed into the shape of a dollar sign, photo by Petmal/Getty Images

    RAND Research on Drug Pricing

    Apr 5, 2021

    Most Americans agree prescription drug prices are too high. As prescription drug prices continue to increase in United States, policymakers have been examining ways to address this issue.

  • People are seen at a 24-hour COVID-19 vaccination center at the Brooklyn Army Terminal in Brooklyn, New York, January 11, 2021, photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    What Contributes to COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in Black Communities?

    Mar 12, 2021

    As COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts continue, a new RAND survey reveals a high level of vaccine hesitancy and mistrust of COVID-19 vaccines among Black Americans, including among Black health care workers.

  • The emergency room entrance at Essentia Health, a 133-bed hospital in Fargo, North Dakota, October 25, 2020, photo by Bing Guan/Reuters

    Policy Options for Reducing Hospital Prices Paid by Private Health Plans

    Feb 18, 2021

    Hospital spending--the largest health spending category in the United States--accounts for one-third of national health expenditures. In 2018, U.S. hospital spending totaled $1.2 trillion. A new RAND report analyzes the effects on spending of three policy options.

  • Friend comforts uniformed United States Army soldier sitting on park bench, photo by debbiehelbing/Getty Images

    Considering Veterans Policy in the 117th Congress

    Feb 16, 2021

    What are the biggest veterans' health policy issues facing the 117th Congress? RAND experts offer up insight on a variety of topics, including mental health, quality of care, suicide prevention, and more.

  • Vials of COVID-19 vaccine, photo by MarsBars/Getty Images

    Considering Health Care Policy in the 117th Congress

    Feb 2, 2021

    What are the biggest health care policy issues facing the 117th Congress? RAND experts offer up insight on a variety of topics, including the COVID-19 pandemic, drug pricing, health insurance markets, combatting the opioid crisis, telehealth expansion, and more.

  • Bottles of drugs on the shelf at the Rock Canyon Pharmacy, in Provo, Utah, May 9, 2019, photo by George Frey/Reuters

    New Research Shows U.S. Prescription Drug Prices Exceed Other Nations

    Jan 28, 2021

    Congress has been examining ways to combat rising prescription drug prices. According to a new report, prices for all prescription drugs in the United States were 2.56 times of those seen in 32 different Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations.

  • Vial of insulin with a syringe, photo by Bernard Chantal/Getty Images

    U.S. Pays 8x What Other Countries Would for Insulin

    Oct 14, 2020

    A new RAND study shows insulin prices are more than eight times higher in the United States than in other high-income Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

  • Exterior of a hospital building reflecting the sky off its glass, photo by Arkadiusz Wargula/Getty Images

    U.S. Hospital Price Evaluation

    Sep 18, 2020

    A new RAND study shows that prices paid for hospital care nationally during 2018 by privately insured patients average 247% of what Medicare would have paid, with wide variation in prices among states.

  • Extended hand showing a representation of link between points, photo by

    RAND Resources on the Opioid Crisis

    Sep 9, 2020

    Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. is still grappling with the opioid epidemic. According to 2019 provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. had its deadliest year on record for overdose deaths, surpassing the 2017 peak.

  • Man talking with his doctor online, photo by fizkes/Getty Images

    What We Really Need to Make Telehealth Stick

    Aug 20, 2020

    In response to COVID-19, Congress temporarily expanded telehealth services to help make sure that people still have access to care during this public health crisis. With many of the temporary telehealth flexibilities set to expire, policymakers are looking at ways to make these changes permanent.

  • In Case You Missed It: The Strategic National Stockpile and COVID-19

    Jul 8, 2020

    COVID-19 has exposed serious weaknesses in our national preparedness for a global pandemic, including with the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). Daniel Gerstein provides recommendations for rethinking the SNS to help prepare for future emergencies.

  • A health insurance application on a tablet, photo by grinvalds/Getty Images

    Public Options for Individual Health Insurance

    Jun 1, 2020

    There has been growing interest at the state and federal levels in a "public option" for individual market insurance. According to a new report, offering a public option for people who buy their own insurance could lower the cost of premiums, but on its own it is unlikely to substantially increase the overall number of people with coverage.

  • COVID-19 Decision-Support Tool for Policymakers

    May 4, 2020

    To slow the spread of COVID-19, state and local leaders have implemented a range of non-pharmaceutical interventions to protect communities. Now, policymakers face tough questions about when to relax or lift interventions, and how to weigh the economic cost of prolonged mitigation measures against the risk of a second wave of the crisis.

  • Ambulances seen outside NYU Langone Hospital's Emergency entrance during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in New York City, March 31, 2020, photo by Brendan McDermid/Reuters

    Critical Care Surge Response Strategies for the COVID-19 Outbreak

    Apr 7, 2020

    U.S. hospitals can prepare for a surge of patients critically ill with COVID-19, but it will require hospital leaders, practitioners and regional officials to adopt drastic measures that challenge the standard way of providing 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.

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