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Does Competition under Medicare Prospective Payment Selectively Reduce Expenditures on High-Cost Patients?

  • David Meltzer
  • Jeanette Chung
  • Anirban Basu

Competition and prospective payment have been widely used to control health care costs but may together provide incentives to selectively reduce expenditures on high-cost relative to low-cost users. We use patient discharge and hospital financial data from California to examine the effects of competition on costs for high- and low-cost admissions in the 12 largest Diagnosis-Related Groups before and after the Medicare Prospective Payment System (PPS). We find that competition increased costs before PPS, but that this effect decreased afterward, especially in patients with the highest costs. We conclude that competition and PPS selectively reduced spending among the most expensive patients and that careful assessment of these patients' outcomes is important.

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Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 33 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (Autumn)
Pages: 447-468

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Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:33:y:2002:i:autumn:p:447-468
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