RAND economists have a long and distinguished history of applying innovative research methods to improve health and the efficiency of health care service delivery.
With the help of a generous donation from former trustee Peter Bing, RAND created the Bing Center for Health Economics to continue to strengthen this tradition of innovative, high-profile research in health economics and health services.
What We Do
Abundant supply of opioids was one of the major causes of the opioid crisis. Broader supply-side policies that consider the full market, if coupled with effective treatment, are likely to be effective and resistant to substitution effects.
Affordable Care Act
The ACA policy change requiring most private health insurance plans to cover lactation-support services and breastfeeding equipment (without cost-sharing) was associated with a 10% increase in length of breastfeeding and a 21% increase in the length of exclusive breastfeeding.
The association between medical marijuana and lower levels of opioid overdose deaths—identified previously in several studies—is more complex than previously described. It appears to be changing as both medical marijuana laws and the opioid crisis evolve.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's interactive Motor Vehicle Prioritizing Interventions and Cost Calculator for States can help decisionmakers prioritize interventions. This new version provides a more user-friendly interface and updated data.
Using sick leave data from the Chilean health insurance system, researchers estimate a productivity loss of approximately 6.7 million U.S. dollars as a result of the 2009 pandemic.
Health Insurance Benefit Design
To decrease excessive health care spending, the California Public Employees Retirement System incentivized patients to seek care from less expensive providers, reducing the "moral hazard" inherent with insurance coverage.
Christine Eibner has been appointed to the RAND Corporation's Paul O'Neill Alcoa Chair in Policy Analysis, RAND President and CEO Michael D. Rich announced in May.
Eibner, who is based at RAND's office in Arlington, Virginia, will continue to work on modeling the nation's health care system and aiding policymakers as they consider proposals to improve affordability and extend coverage.
"Christine Eibner's research and analysis has provided objective, credible evidence to all stakeholders in the highly politicized debate over health care," Rich said. "Support from the Alcoa Chair will help her extend the impact of her research and analysis, stay ahead of the curve on emerging policy issues and mentor the next generation of policy researchers."
Over the past decade, Eibner has led numerous complex analyses that have had a major impact on the direction and contours of U.S. health care reform. She has led efforts to model the impacts of the federal Affordable Care Act, and had advised federal and state officials about the potential impacts of a wide array of health care policies.
Her research has been published in major health policy journals, including Health Affairs, Health Services Research and The New England Journal of Medicine. She is frequently cited in influential news media. Eibner, who received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Maryland, received the 2016 AcademyHealth HSR Impact Award.
Marc Elliott Selected to Join AcademyHealth Methods Council
Marc Elliott has been chosen by AcademyHealth to join its Methods Council. The Council consists of 21 members who advise AcademyHealth leadership on priorities and trends in new methods and trainings for AcademyHealth members and the field of health services research.
NIDA Marijuana Policy Research
Rosalie Pacula has been appointed to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Marijuana Policy Research Workgroup.
Cocaine Study Cited in Senate Hearing
In a confirmation hearing for Joseph McManus, nominated to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Colombia, Senator Marco Rubio cited RAND work on the supply of cocaine in the United States, which showed that the supply fell by 50% from 2006 and 2010.
Marijuana Legalization in Vermont
In 2014, the State of Vermont contracted with RAND to help them think about marijuana legalization in the state. Though initially leaning toward a revenue-generating, commercial legalization model, RAND's report by Beau Kilmer, Rosalie Pacula, and others, discussed the pros/cons of many policy alternatives—including non-profit, middle-ground options. Indeed, that was the main takeaway: jurisdictions considering alternatives to marijuana prohibition have many options.
Early in 2018, the VT House and Senate passed a bill to implement a middle-ground legalization option allowing home grows, possession, and gifting, but no commercial sales.
On January 22, 2018, Governor Phil Scott signed the legislation into law, making Vermont the first state in the country to pass legalization through the normal legislative process (instead of a ballot initiative).
LA Holds Hearing on Proposed Cannabis Advertising Restrictions
Citing research by Liz D'Amico and a host of other RAND researchers, the City of Los Angeles proposed an ordinance that recommends restricting cannabis advertising near schools and other "sensitive locations," including alcoholism or drug abuse recovery or treatment facilities, public libraries, public parks, schools, and residentially zoned property. A public hearing was held on December 14, 2017.
Awards and Recognition
Telehealth Study Tops Health Affairs' List of Most-Read Articles of 2017
"Direct-To-Consumer Telehealth May Increase Access To Care But Does Not Decrease Spending," by J. Scott Ashwood, Ateev Mehrotra, David Cowling, and Lori Uscher-Pines, was the most-read Health Affairs study of 2017. Read more on the Health Affairs Blog.
Beau Kilmer Recognized for Innovation in Alcohol and Drug Policy Research
The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) presented Beau Kilmer with a public service award in recognition of his leadership and innovation in the areas of alcohol and drug-impaired driving program and policy research. Kilmer's 24/7 Sobriety Program has been implemented in several states around the U.S.
Health Services Research (HSR) Names Engberg and Mehrotra Article among Five Most Cited Articles
Health Services Research reports that the article, The Opportunity Costs of Informal Elder-Care in the United States: New Estimates from the American Time Use Survey, with John Engberg and Ateev Mehrotra among the co-authors, is one of their top 5 most cited articles over the past two years.
Opioid Treatment Article Among Most Read and Most Cited in Milbank Quarterly
The 2015 article,Where Is Buprenorphine Dispensed to Treat Opioid Use Disorders?, by Brad Stein and others on buprenorphine dispensing for the treatment of opioid addiction is one of the five most read articles published by Milbank Quarterly, as well as one of the journal's top five most cited articles in 2017.