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Physician Fee Policy and Medicaid Program Costs

Author

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  • Jonathan Gruber
  • Kathleen Adams
  • Joseph P. Newhouse

Abstract

We investigate the hypothesis that increasing access for the indigent to physician offices shifts care from hospital outpatient settings and lowers Medicaid costs (the so-called offset effect'). To evaluate this hypothesis we exploit a large increase in physician fees in the Tennessee Medicaid program, using Georgia as a control. We find that beneficiaries shifted care from clinics to offices, but that there was little or no shifting from hospital outpatient departments or emergency rooms. Thus, we find no offset effect in outpatient expenditures. Inpatient admissions and expenditures fell, reducing overall program spending eight percent. Because the inpatient reduction did not occur in ambulatory-care-sensitive diagnoses, however, we cannot demonstrate a causal relationship with the fee change.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Gruber & Kathleen Adams & Joseph P. Newhouse, 1997. "Physician Fee Policy and Medicaid Program Costs," NBER Working Papers 6087, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6087
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Laurence C. Baker & Anne Beeson Royalty, 2000. "Medicaid Policy, Physician Behavior, and Health Care for the Low-Income Population," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(3), pages 480-502.
    2. Long, Stephen H. & Settle, Russell F. & Stuart, Bruce C., 1986. "Reimbursement and access to physicians' services under Medicaid," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 235-251, September.
    3. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-641, June.
    4. Joseph P. Newhouse, 1992. "Medical Care Costs: How Much Welfare Loss?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(3), pages 3-21, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan Gruber, 2003. "Medicaid," NBER Chapters,in: Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, pages 15-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Hahn, Youjin, 2013. "The effect of Medicaid physician fees on take-up of public health insurance among children in poverty," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 452-462.
    3. Craig L. Garthwaite, 2011. "The Doctor Might See You Now: The Supply Side Effects of Public Health Insurance Expansions," NBER Working Papers 17070, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jonathan Gruber, 1997. "Policy Watch: Medicaid and Uninsured Women and Children," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(4), pages 199-208, Fall.
    5. Jonathan Gruber, 1997. "Health Insurance for Poor Women and Children in the U.S.: Lessons from the Past Decade," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 11, pages 169-211 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Thomas C. Buchmueller & Sean Orzol & Lara D. Shore-Sheppard, 2015. "The Effect of Medicaid Payment Rates on Access to Dental Care among Children," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 1(2), pages 194-223, Spring.
    7. Janet Currie & Jonathan Gruber, 1997. "The Technology of Birth: Health Insurance, Medical Interventions, and Infant Health," NBER Working Papers 5985, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Thomas Buchmueller & John C. Ham & Lara D. Shore-Sheppard, 2015. "The Medicaid Program," NBER Chapters,in: Economics of Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, Volume 1, pages 21-136 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Winnie Yip & Karen Eggleston, 2001. "Provider payment reform in China: the case of hospital reimbursement in Hainan province," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(4), pages 325-339.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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