Remarks at Conference on Directions in Health Economics Regarding Research on Health Insurance and Biomedical Research and Development.

by Joseph P. Newhouse

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Comments on significant research opportunities for economists: (1) Why does health insurance cover minor costs better than major ones--why comparatively low upper limits? (2) What is the effect of methods of reimbursing providers of medical care? (3) Market structure problems. (4) Difficulties in measuring elasticity of demand. (5) Understanding health stock loss. (6) Effects of price schedules. (7) Marginal prices. Turning to R&D, development is defined as improving a product along existing quantifiable dimensions, and research as introducing new products (new dimensions). (8) Has reimbursement insurance reduced development in cost reduction? (9) What is the tradeoff between expenditure and speed of development? (10) What is optimal patent policy? (11) Optimal size and distribution of research firms and researchers? (12) Incentives for efficiency? (13) Optimal length of support--what is the tradeoff between the greater responsiveness and control obtained with shorter periods, vs. greater insecurity and nonproductive times writing proposals? 6 pp. Ref.

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