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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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