The most influential health care studies, according to Twitter

In an interview, a journalist asked me for the health care studies with greatest policy influence. I said the RAND Health Insurance Experiment and the Oregon Medicaid Study. I added there are certainly more worthy to be named, but this is not a thing my brain does so readily.

And so I put it to Twitter:

The replies overwhelmed me, so I asked if anyone would compile them for a post. Nisarg Patel, a DMD Candidate at Harvard University and delivery system innovation researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital, obliged. (He’s on Twitter @nxpatel).

Below is the list, in no particular order. Just so you can debate these and add more, comments open for one week. (I won’t be going back to Twitter to pull in more replies there, so if you want yours in the TIE record you’ll have to add them here.)

UPDATE: Brian Rahmer (@brianrahmer) put the PDFs of these studies in Dropbox. Go get them!


National Research Council. America’s uninsured crisis: consequences for health and health care. Washington, DC: The National Academic. 2009.

Baicker K, Staiger D. Fiscal shenanigans, targeted federal health care funds, and patient mortality. The quarterly journal of economics. 2005;120(1):345-86.

Kane TJ, Orzsag P, Gunter DL. State fiscal constraints and higher education spending: The role of Medicaid and the business cycle. 2003.

Blumberg LJ, Buettgens M, Holahan J, Garrett B, Wang R. State-by-State Coverage and Government Spending Implications of the Better Care Reconciliation Act. 2017.

McGlynn EA, Asch SM, Adams J, Keesey J, Hicks J, DeCristofaro A, Kerr EA. The quality of health care delivered to adults in the United States. New England journal of medicine. 2003;348(26):2635-45.

Baicker K, Taubman SL, Allen HL, Bernstein M, Gruber JH, Newhouse JP, Schneider EC, Wright BJ, Zaslavsky AM, Finkelstein AN. The Oregon experiment—effects of Medicaid on clinical outcomes. New England Journal of Medicine. 2013;368(18):1713-22.

Wagnerman K, Alker J, Hoadley J, Holmes M. Medicaid in Small Towns and Rural America: A Lifeline for Children, Families, and Communities. 2017.

Arrow KJ. Uncertainty and the Welfare Economics of Medical Care. The American Economic Review. 1963;53(5): 941-973

Summers LH. Some simple economics of mandated benefits. The American Economic Review. 1989;79(2):177-83.

Berwick DM, Nolan TW, Whittington J. The triple aim: care, health, and cost. Health affairs. 2008;27(3):759-69.

Barnett ML, Sommers BD. A National Survey of Medicaid Beneficiaries’ Expenses and Satisfaction With Health Care. JAMA Intern Med. Published online July 10, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.3174

Sommers BD, Gawande AA, Baicker K. Health Insurance Coverage and Health—What the Recent Evidence Tells Us. New England Journal of Medicine (2017).

Frean M, Gruber J, Sommers BD. Disentangling the ACA’s coverage effects—lessons for policymakers. New England Journal of Medicine. 2016;375(17):1605-8.

Luntz F. The Language of Healthcare 2009. Politico.

Wasserman J, Manning WG, Newhouse JP, Winkler JD. The effects of excise taxes and regulations on cigarette smoking. Journal of health economics. 1991;10(1):43-64.

Ridley DB, Grabowski HG, Moe JL. Developing drugs for developing countries. Health Affairs. 2006;25(2):313-24.

Marmot M. Social determinants of health inequalities. The Lancet. 2005;365(9464):1099-104.

Nelson A. Unequal treatment: confronting racial and ethnic disparities in health care. Journal of the National Medical Association. 2002;94(8):666.


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