A political science thesis examining the impact of the 2010 Affordable Care Act on the cost of health care in the United States. The incentives of the participants in the health care market are analyzed in order to explain why health care costs continue to grow. This thesis also looks at the why the Affordable Care Act became law and provides a conclusion on the likely success of the Affordable Care Act at controlling health care cost growth.
This thesis analyzes the relationship between societal wellbeing and life expectancy from an international sample. The United States has a significantly lower life expectancy at birth than other wealthy, foreign democracies. This paper evaluates the significance of a multitude of diverse variables, such as obesity, education, alcohol consumption, and purchasing power (collectively referred to societal wellbeing), in explaining the variance of life expectancy at birth from an international sample. The data covers societal wellbeing indicators of the international sample from 1980-2009. An OLS regression is used to determine the importance of each variable in explaining the variance of life expectancy. Foreign healthcare models that effectively address these nonmedical determinants of longevity will be used to suggest policy for healthcare reform in the United States. Healthcare reform is an incredibly intricate topic that can be approached from a variety of methods. How does societal wellbeing affect longevity? What are the sources of variance between other countries and the United States? How can these variances be used to prescribe policy for healthcare reform in the U.S.? These questions are integral to addressing the topic of healthcare reform and demonstrate the importance of international collaboration to improve the health of our nations’ population.
Existing literature on hospital pricing and price variation is split on whether price differentials in hospital billing are demand or supply led. To harmonize this literature, we use data from the Medicare Hospital Compare website to evaluate the interaction between demand and supply factors that influence hospital pricing structure. We use consumers’ net willingness-to-pay (net WTP) as the dependent variable to analyze how providers exploit factors that enable a provider to charge high prices to consumers. We find that high prices are reflective of the perceived quality but find no relationship with the actual quality of care. In line with previous literature, our analysis shows no evidence of cross- subsidization between inpatient DRGs. However, we find no interaction of factors that could adequately explain the full extent of observed variation in provider prices. We conclude that the question, “Should I buy here or keep driving?” is complex and cannot be answered by a simple analysis of which healthcare provider is cheaper.