Health Economics


Financing the efficient delivery of medical services while reducing costs for consumers as well as health care providers is among the most challenging domestic policy problems many countries face. RAND addresses health economics issues through innovative, high-profile research in an effort to improve the efficiency of health care organizations, reduce costs for providers and consumers, and improve financing in health care markets.

  • Vials of COVID-19 vaccine, photo by MarsBars/Getty Images


    COVID-19 'Vaccine Nationalism' Could Cost $1.2 Trillion a Year

    Nationalistic behavior by governments may exclude some countries from access to COVID-19 vaccines. This could cost the world economy up to $1.2 trillion a year in GDP. A globally coordinated effort to fight the pandemic is key, not only from a public health perspective but also an economic one.

    Oct 28, 2020

  • Bottles of drugs on the shelf at the Rock Canyon Pharmacy, in Provo, Utah, May 9, 2019, photo by George Frey/Reuters


    U.S. Prescription Drug Prices Are 2.56 Times Those in Other Countries

    Prices for prescription drugs in the United States in 2018 were 256 percent of those in 32 comparison countries. For brand-name drugs, U.S. prices were 344 percent higher. But for generic drugs, they were only 84 percent of the average paid in other nations.

    Jan 28, 2021

Explore Health Economics

  • A green bacteria colony


    The Cost of Resistance and the Attack of the Microbes

    If left unaddressed, the threat posed by antimicrobial resistance and the rise of “superbugs” could devastate the world economy and pose a deadly threat to humanity.

    Aug 7, 2015

  • Report


    Insights on earlier adoption of medical innovations: An international review of emerging and effective practice in improving access to medicines and medical technologies

    This briefing supports the Accelerated Access Review by conducting a study to examine international examples of accelerating the use of drugs, devices and diagnostics.

    Jul 10, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Roles of Prices, Poverty, and Health in Medicare and Private Spending in Texas

    Variation in private spending reflects the ability of the local population to pay for healthcare, whereas variation in Medicare is more driven by health status.

    Jul 7, 2015

  • Supporters of the Affordable Care Act celebrate after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Obama administration, Washington, DC, June 25, 2015


    Why Obamacare Lives

    Economic reasoning took center stage in the Supreme Court's decision on Thursday to uphold the legality of the Affordable Care Act's subsidies in all states. The subsidies are critical to ensuring that healthy people, with lower health care costs, have adequate incentive to enroll.

    Jun 26, 2015

  • A scientist wearing a respirator while looking at a Petri dish


    G7 Leaders to Discuss Threat of Antimicrobial Resistance

    The threat of drug resistance can be tackled with the right set of actions, including the development of new antimicrobial drugs and alternative therapies to disrupt the rise in resistance. German Chancellor Merkel has emphasized the importance of a joint global action plan for addressing this growing problem.

    Jun 8, 2015

  • Nurse counseling a woman with diabetes


    Improving Care for Chronic Conditions: Current Practices and Future Trends in Health Plan Programs

    Documents the current range of health plans' chronic care management services, identifies best practices and industry trends, and examines factors in the plans' operating environment that limit their ability to optimize chronic care programs.

    Jun 3, 2015

  • Group of doctors in a brightly lit hospital hallway


    Paths to Sustainability for Innovative Delivery System Programs

    Innovative health care delivery organizations are developing programs that aim to improve quality and reduce unnecessary use of acute care and costs. Researchers sought to identify paths to sustainability for these innovative care delivery programs.

    May 12, 2015

  • Medical personnel gathered around a laptop

    Journal Article

    Using Research to Transform the Health Care System

    Using the knowledge base developed by health services research can stimulate innovative thinking about how to make health care systems safer, more efficient, more cost effective, and more patient centered.

    Apr 22, 2015

  • Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House, March 23, 2010


    The Affordable Care Act: An Overview of the Evidence

    RAND researchers have analyzed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act—the sweeping health care reform sometimes known as “Obamacare”—from many different angles. Here's what they've learned.

    Apr 8, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    Details and Context of New Payment Models Are Critical to Efforts of Physician Practices to Improve Care

    Physician practices are engaging in new health care payment models intended to improve quality and reduce costs, but are finding that they need help with managing increasing amounts of data and figuring out how to respond to the diversity of programs and quality metrics from different payers.

    Mar 19, 2015

  • Doctor writing at his desk next to keyboard and stethoscope


    Physicians Need Support and Guidance to Further Advance Delivery Reforms

    Physicians are engaging in new health care payment models intended to improve quality and reduce costs. They are finding that they need help with managing increasing amounts of data and figuring out how to respond to the diversity of programs and quality metrics from different payers.

    Mar 19, 2015

  • A doctor listens to a patient's breathing

    Journal Article

    US Hospitals Experienced Substantial Productivity Growth During 2002-11

    Productivity growth in US health care could be better than is sometimes believed, and may help alleviate concerns about Medicare payment policy under the Affordable Care Act.

    Mar 10, 2015

  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)


    The New Drug Wars

    Modern medicine is built on the promise that antibiotics will clear away the bacteria that made everything from skin infections to surgery potentially lethal just a few generations ago. But drug-resistant strains of disease have spread in recent years.

    Mar 3, 2015

  • A road cuts through a forest on the island of Senja, north of the Arctic Circle in Norway


    Health Benefits of Addressing Climate Change

    Opponents of action to mitigate climate change often suggest that regulation could have a negative impact on jobs, but stakeholders need to consider benefits, too. For instance, lower emissions could produce savings in the form of lower health care costs, reductions in premature death, and greater well-being.

    Feb 4, 2015

  • A young woman cares for her elderly grandmother

    Research Brief

    The Cost of Elderly Caregiving

    Family members and friends spend 30 billion hours each year providing care for their elderly loved ones. These caregivers are giving up valuable time, either from their jobs or from other potentially productive activities. What is the annual price tag of this informal care—and how might it be offset?

    Jan 20, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    Who Pays for Health Care in Vermont Under the Current System

    If Vermont considers further health care reform proposals, legislators might look for opportunities to better align the degree of subsidization available for individuals with similar incomes, regardless of whether they are enrolled on the exchange or in employer coverage.

    Jan 14, 2015

  • A stethoscope rests on a credit card.


    A Look at Health Care Spending in Vermont As It Weighs Reform

    Most Vermont residents receive more in health benefits than they pay for directly or through taxes. Those with lower incomes pay less for health care than those with higher-incomes but there is much variation, something legislators may wish to review as they consider implementing universal health coverage.

    Jan 8, 2015

  • News Release

    News Release

    Consumers Who Buy Subsidized Health Plans May Face Higher Costs When More Choices Are Available

    For people who buy subsidized coverage through marketplaces created under the ACA, those who live in areas with more plan offerings may have to pay a higher premium to receive the same deductible when compared to consumers in regions with fewer options.

    Jan 6, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Organisational Interventions to Reduce Length of Stay in Hospital: A Rapid Evidence Assessment

    This study sought to (i) describe the nature of interventions that have been used to reduce length of stay in acute care hospitals; (ii) identify the factors that are known to influence length of stay; and (iii) assess the impact of interventions on patient outcomes, service outcomes and costs.

    Dec 18, 2014

  • Syringe and vaccine medicine


    The Economic Costs of Antimicrobial Resistance

    More and more bacterial and viral infections are resistant to antimicrobial drugs. But no new classes of antibiotics have entered the market for more than 25 years. Researchers estimate that failing to address this issue will mean a lower world population in 2050 than expected and at least $2 trillion in lost global GDP.

    Dec 10, 2014

Research conducted by