Nav: Home

Social investments could save Medicare, Medicaid, hospitals, health insurers billions

August 06, 2018

Fairfax, VA - Reliable access to housing, nutrition, and transportation are some of the best predictors of your future health. While this has been well documented by research, we have seen little investment in these social determinants from health care stakeholders, who could financially gain the most from them.

Dr. Len M. Nichols, director of the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics (CHPRE) and professor of health policy at George Mason University and Lauren A. Taylor, a doctoral candidate in health management at Harvard Business School explain why and offer a sustainable investment model in the August issue of Health Affairs. Complimentary access to the article is available beginning August 6, 2018 at https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/full/10.1377/hlthaff.2018.0039.

With their 12-step model based on one hypothetical community of 300,000 people, Medicaid, Medicare, private insurers, and hospitals or uninsured people could see a total net savings of $7M. The cost savings would vary locally, but if implemented across the United States could be in the billions.

Nichols explains, "I'm excited about this work because it shows how an economic model can help solve a vexing problem in a sustainable way: financing social services that could help people, health care stakeholders, and the community at large, all at the same time. The model is sustainable because it teaches stakeholders that their payments are actually in their own self-interest. The specifics can and must be tailored to local conditions, strengths and priorities. And the whole thing only works where a requisite level of trust exists or can be created. We are eager to find partners who are ready to test and implement it where they live, and just informally so far the level of interest has been encouraging."

In their article, "Social Determinants as Public Goods: A New Approach to Financing Key Investments in Healthy Communities," Nichols and Taylor acknowledge that there are challenges these health care stakeholders are facing that has historically dissuaded them from such investments. Their model addresses these challenges and incentivizes sustainable funding in these services. For example, since some stakeholders stand to gain more from these investments, they can pay more of the cost to even out the benefit across all stakeholders.

"It's always nice to be part of an academic project that can have near-term, real-world implications," says Taylor. "We've already received quite a bit of feedback from communities who have been looking for a way to solve the free rider problem with regard to social determinants investments. It usually surfaces as a fear that low-income people will switch or churn between plans before investments can be recouped, which is quite reasonable. Fortunately, I think we have found a very viable solution to that problem here."

Nichols and Taylor hope to implement their model next year in at least two communities.
-end-
About George Mason University

George Mason University is Virginia's largest and most diverse public research university. Located near Washington, D.C., Mason enrolls 36,000 students from 130 countries and all 50 states. Mason has grown rapidly over the last half-century and is recognized for its innovation and entrepreneurship, remarkable diversity and commitment to accessibility. Learn more at http://www.gmu.edu.

George Mason University

Related Health Policy Articles:

ACR announces 2017 health policy priorities
The American College of Rheumatology today announced its 2017 health policy priorities, providing detailed policy recommendations to improve access to care for rheumatology patients and address the national rheumatology workforce shortage.
Trump's policy changes put women's sexual and reproductive health at risk, argues expert
Donald Trump's sexual and reproductive health policy changes threaten women in the USA and across the world, warns an expert in the Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care.
New Neiman Health Policy Institute reports examine MACRA's impact on radiologists
A new Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute series of reports explores the impact of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015, along with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) 2016 proposal for its implementation, on radiologists.
Political polarization among voters likely to have effect on future health policy
An in-depth analysis of results from 14 national public opinion polls that looked at how Republican and Democratic likely voters in the 2016 presidential election view the health policy issues raised during the election campaign shows that the two parties' voters have markedly different values, priorities, and beliefs about the future of health policy.
Health policy expert to study electronic sharing of health information in primary care
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has awarded a grant to a health and policy management expert at the Richard M.
Science Policy Research Unit sets out to redefine innovation policy as it marks 50 years
A new international effort to develop and disseminate 'transformative innovation policy' around the world will be launched by the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex this week.
CU's Farley health policy center awarded $1 million grant to advance integrated care
The Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center at the University of Colorado School of Medicine has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to establish a technical assistance program for designing policies that help integrate behavioral health across healthcare.
Researchers turn to policy to tackle health disparities in an age of personalized medicine
Genetic research is a valuable tool in understanding diseases and their prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
New Neiman Health Policy Institute report examines radiology payment models
A new Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute report discusses the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act and its implications for radiology.
Reforms to agricultural policy may increase sugar consumption and harm public health
The liberalization of the sugar market in the EU may increase sugar consumption, particularly among the lowest socioeconomic groups, and damage public health across Europe and beyond, warn experts in The BMJ this week.

Related Health Policy Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Digital Manipulation
Technology has reshaped our lives in amazing ways. But at what cost? This hour, TED speakers reveal how what we see, read, believe — even how we vote — can be manipulated by the technology we use. Guests include journalist Carole Cadwalladr, consumer advocate Finn Myrstad, writer and marketing professor Scott Galloway, behavioral designer Nir Eyal, and computer graphics researcher Doug Roble.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#529 Do You Really Want to Find Out Who's Your Daddy?
At least some of you by now have probably spit into a tube and mailed it off to find out who your closest relatives are, where you might be from, and what terrible diseases might await you. But what exactly did you find out? And what did you give away? In this live panel at Awesome Con we bring in science writer Tina Saey to talk about all her DNA testing, and bioethicist Debra Mathews, to determine whether Tina should have done it at all. Related links: What FamilyTreeDNA sharing genetic data with police means for you Crime solvers embraced...