Managed Care, Health Care Quality, and Regulation
Posted: 25 Feb 2002
The growth of managed care has prompted numerous questions about its impact on the quality of health care. This paper reviews evidence on the impacts of managed care on quality. Most comparisons of care for patients in different plans within similar markets suggests that there is little systematic difference in quality between HMOs and other managed care plans and non-managed care plans. But, these studies may ignore important effects of managed care on the structure and functioning of the health care system that would only be evident across markets. We suggest that these effects could be important, and provided evidence from an analysis of treatment patterns for cancer patients. We conclude by describing how more careful attention to the empirical evidence on the effects of managed care could improve current policy debates about managed care regulation.
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