My Papers

Creating Incentives To Narrow The Gap In Health Outcomes

That is the title of my recent blog post in Health Affairs with my co-author Meena Venkatachalam. The subtitle is “Expanding Value Assessment To Incorporate Health Inequality“. An excerpt is below:

The brutal murder of George Floyd has brought renewed attention to systemic inequality that African Americans and other minorities face in the United States and around the world. These inequalities also appear in health outcomes statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while African Americans represented 13 percent of the US population, as of May 30, 22 percent of COVID-19 patients were black. Furthermore, as of March 30, 33 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients were African American. These health disparities were well known before the COVID-19 pandemic; life expectancy for African Americans in the US is 3.5 years lower than for the American population as a whole. Furthermore, the average African American can expect to spend 13 years of his or her life without health insurance, compared to only eight years for the typical non-Hispanic white. Although there is a universal acknowledgement that health inequalities need to be addressed, the question is “How?”

To find the answer do read the entire post. We discuss approaches using distributional cost effectiveness analysis (DCEA) and multiple-criteria decision analysis (MCDA). If equity matters to policymakers and payers, economists have developed the tools to incorporate the value of reduced inequality into formal value assessment. We conclude by saying:

While improving health outcomes for African Americans and other marginalized groups requires leveraging a multifaceted approach, appropriately incentivizing innovations that help those who need it most is one step that both policy makers and life sciences firms can agree on is a way to fairly make sure that equity is appropriately valued.

Do read the whole article.

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