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The Effect of U.S. Health Insurance Expansions on Medical Innovation

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  • Jeffrey Clemens

    () (Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research)

Abstract

I study the effect of health insurance expansions on medical innovation. Practitioner dominated innovation (Roberts, 1988) creates an important role for the incentives in “local” payment systems as drivers of medical technology development. I show that, over the 15 years following Medicare and Medicaid’s passage, U.S.-based patenting shifted towards medical equipment by nearly 1.5 percentage points (50 percent) more than foreign patenting. This did not reflect a more general, U.S.-specific trend towards health-sector innovation; no such increase occurred among pharmaceutical patents, the markets for which were unaffected. Subsequent decreases in cost-sharing for all health spending are also associated with increases in U.S.-based patenting relative to foreign patenting in the relevant areas. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that the dynamic effect of U.S. insurance expansions may account for around 25 percent of global medical-equipment innovation and 15 percent of the rise in U.S. health spending in hospitals, physicians’ offices, and other clinical settings from 1960 to 2010.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey Clemens, 2012. "The Effect of U.S. Health Insurance Expansions on Medical Innovation," Discussion Papers 11-016, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:11-016
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    Cited by:

    1. Lakdawalla, Darius & Malani, Anup & Reif, Julian, 2017. "The insurance value of medical innovation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 94-102.
    2. Freedman, Seth & Lin, Haizhen & Simon, Kosali, 2015. "Public health insurance expansions and hospital technology adoption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 117-131.
    3. Jeffrey Clemens & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2014. "Do Physicians' Financial Incentives Affect Medical Treatment and Patient Health?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(4), pages 1320-1349, April.
    4. Kristopher J. Hult & Tomas J. Philipson, 2012. "Public Liabilities and Health Care Policy," NBER Working Papers 18571, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Johanna Catherine Maclean & Ioana Popovici & Elisheva Stern, 2015. "Health Insurance Expansions and Provider Behavior: Evidence from Substance Use Disorder Providers," DETU Working Papers 1510, Department of Economics, Temple University.
    6. Jeffrey Clemens & Stan Veuger, 2015. "Risks to the Returns to Medical Innovation: The Case of Myriad Genetics," NBER Working Papers 21469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. repec:bla:coecpo:v:35:y:2017:i:2:p:345-357 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Dunn, Abe & Shapiro, Adam Hale, 2015. "Physician payments under health care reform," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 89-105.
    9. Amitabh Chandra & Jonathan Holmes & Jonathan Skinner, 2013. "Is This Time Different? The Slowdown in Healthcare Spending," NBER Working Papers 19700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Clemens, Jeffrey, 2014. "Implications of Physician Ethics, Billing Norms, and Service Cost Structures for Medicare's Fee Schedule," MPRA Paper 73392, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Jeffrey Clemens & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2017. "In the Shadow of a Giant: Medicare’s Influence on Private Physician Payments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 125(1), pages 1-39.
    12. Alberto Galasso & Hong Luo, 2016. "Tort Reform and Innovation," NBER Working Papers 22712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Charles I. Jones, 2016. "Life and Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(2), pages 539-578.
    14. Galasso, Alberto & Luo, Hong, 2016. "Tort Reform and Innovation," CEPR Discussion Papers 11358, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets

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