Access to Health Care

Access to health care usually refers to the ease with which an individual can gain entry to or receive needed medical services. RAND research addresses multiple dimensions of access, including: financial access, usually facilitated through health insurance; potential access, usually aided by having a regular health care provider; and realized access, when an individual actually receives needed medical care. Many RAND studies have also examined disparities in access across different population groups and the effect of disparities on health.

Selected RAND Publications on Access to Health Care

Health Care Costs

RAND Health Care has been analyzing major issues related to public and private financing of health care since the program's inception in 1968. An early landmark study in this body of work is the RAND Health Insurance Experiment, still the largest health policy study in U.S. history. RAND work in this research area includes the organization and regulation of health care markets, the effects of population health on public financing, cost-effective allocation of private and public financing, and distributional issues in health and health care associated with health care financing, among others.

Selected RAND Publications on Health Care Costs

Health Care Organization and Capacity

RAND Health Care research on the organization and capacity of the health care system takes a broad perspective. Our work has examined how organization affects the system’s ability to provide high-quality care and to use resources efficiently and effectively. Many studies have focused on the link between health system organization and the ability of the public health system to respond to public health emergencies, whether natural or the result of hostile action.

Selected RAND Publications on Health Care Organization and Capacity

Health Insurance

Health care coverage protects individuals against the financial risk that might result from spending on health care services. In the United States, coverage may take the form of insurance offered by private companies and made available to individuals through employers or purchased directly. The government also provides coverage for certain populations via programs such as Medicare or Medicaid. RAND research on health care coverage dates from the RAND Health Insurance Experiment (HIE). Conducted in the 1970s and early 1980s, the HIE remains the only long-term, experimental study of cost sharing and its effect on health care utilization and spending, quality of care, and health. Since then, RAND studies have examined multiple dimensions of coverage, including the effects of premium costs on health care use, the cost and potential health effects of new insurance products such as high-deductible health plans, the challenges faced by small businesses in providing coverage to employees, the groups most at risk for being uninsured, state experiments with insuring the uninsured, coverage for behavioral health, and coverage for prescription drugs.

Selected RAND Publications on Health Insurance

Health Care Quality

Quality of care is the extent to which all individuals receive the right care, at the right time, every time. RAND has been conducting research on measuring and assessing quality of health care for 40 years, and RAND teams developed many of the quality measures being used around the world today. In 2005, RAND analysts produced the first national report card on quality of care in the United States.

Selected RAND Publications on Health Care Quality

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Selected RAND Publications on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act