The Impacts of Physician Payments on Patient Access, Use, and Health

65 Pages Posted: 23 Jul 2019

See all articles by Diane Alexander

Diane Alexander

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Molly Schnell

Northwestern University - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 2019

Abstract

We examine how the amount a physician is paid influences who they are willing to see. Exploiting large, exogenous changes in Medicaid reimbursement rates, we find that increasing payments for new patient office visits reduces reports of providers turning away beneficiaries: closing the gap in payments between Medicaid and private insurers would reduce more than two-thirds of disparities in access among adults and would eliminate disparities among children. These improvements in access lead to more office visits, better self-reported health, and reduced school absenteeism. Our results demonstrate that financial incentives for physicians drive access to care and have important implications for patient health.

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Suggested Citation

Alexander, Diane and Schnell, Molly, The Impacts of Physician Payments on Patient Access, Use, and Health (July 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w26095. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3423807

Diane Alexander (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago ( email )

230 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

Molly Schnell

Northwestern University - Department of Economics ( email )

2003 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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