In a controlled trial of the effects of medical insurance on spending and health status, the authors previously reported lower average (0.8 mm Hg) diastolic blood pressures with free care than with cost-sharing plans. The authors show herein that for clinically defined hypertensives, blood pressures with free care were significantly lower (1.9 mm Hg) than with cost-sharing plans, with a larger difference for low-income hypertensives than for high-income hypertensives (3.5 vs 1.1 mm Hg), but similar differences for blacks and whites. The cause of the difference was the additional contact with physicians under free care; this led to better detection and treatment of hypertensives not under care at the start of the study. Free care also led to higher compliance by hypertensives with diet and smoking recommendations and higher use of medication by those who needed it.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.