A study by USC Price School of Public Policy Professor and Vice Dean for Research Neeraj Sood was cited in the 2017 Economic Report of the President, the final overview of the nation’s economic progress offered by the Obama administration. Sood, who is the director of research at the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics, coauthored the study titled “Employer-Sponsored Insurance, Health Care Cost Growth, and the Economic Performance of U.S. Industries” for Health Services Research Journal in 2009, when he was an economist at RAND Corp.
Soon after it was published, the paper garnered attention during the discussion prior to passage of the Affordable Care Act, receiving mention in Obama’s bipartisan summit on health care in February of 2010 and during a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing. The National Institute for Health Care Management selected it as one of the five best published papers aimed at furthering innovation of health care financing.
“To be cited in the President’s Economic Report shows the work is important in framing policy at the highest level,” Sood said. It’s always good to have the work make an impact in the real world rather than just appeal to your fellow academics.”
Chapter four of the President’s Economic Report focuses on reforming the health care system, which makes up one-fifth of the nation’s economy.
The study analyzed data from 38 U.S. industries from 1987 to 2005, concluding that rising health care costs are adversely affecting their economic performance. It focuses on estimating the effects that occur – in terms of employment, gross output and value added to U.S. industries – when growth in health care costs outpace gross domestic product growth.
“The work shows how controlling health care costs not only is critical in providing access to care and reducing the financial burden on families, but for economic activity in the U.S. and promoting job growth in non-health care sectors,” Sood said.
The research was also cited in the 2014 Economic Report of the President, as the Affordable Care Act was going into effect. The most recent citation shows the work remains just as relevant today.
“Seven or eight years later, it’s still a problem we haven’t solved,” Sood said. “A lot of people are worried about this topic, and this is one of the few papers that provides evidence on how health care costs affect businesses.”