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Physician Fee Policy and Medicaid Program Costs

  • Jonathan Gruber
  • Kathleen Adams
  • Joseph P. Newhouse

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.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6087.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6087.

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Date of creation: Jul 1997
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Publication status: published as Journal of Human Resources, Vol. 32, no. 4 (Fall 1997): 611-634.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6087
Note: HC PE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page: http://www.nber.org
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Gruber, Jonathan, 1994. "The Incidence of Mandated Maternity Benefits," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 622-41, June.
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