Economic Effects of State Health Policies
This session includes three papers from the Health Care Cost Institute’s State Health Policy Grant Program. Using a large, national dataset of health care claims data, the papers investigate how specific state policies affect consumer behavior and the costs of care. State policies can alter which providers consumers choose to receive care from, and consumer decisions on where to receive needed care can have large economic impacts on the health care system. Each of these papers investigates the potential cost savings from changes to provider choices made by consumers. The first paper finds that the total annual cost of care is significantly lower in states with less-restrictive scope of practice (SOP) regulations for nurse practitioners (NP). The second paper finds that less restrictive access to physical therapy (PT) laws leads to lower utilization of some services and lower total cost of care. The third paper investigates the cost savings of California’s reference-based pricing initiative for colonoscopies, and suggests that implementing that program across the country would lead to a 7% reduction in total spending on colonoscopies.