USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative Receives $3.6 Million from Arnold Ventures to Examine Rising Healthcare Spending

The project will focus on physician consolidation, surprise billing, out-of-pocket spending and policies to address healthcare prices.

Healthcare costs continue to be a concern for Americans. Rising healthcare prices translate to higher costs for households, businesses and taxpayers. They may even be detrimental to health, as growing out-of-pocket costs can force patients to make tough tradeoffs.

Researchers from the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy are launching a new portfolio of research and policy projects to improve understanding of rising healthcare spending by taking a data-driven look at provider prices, market consolidation, private equity, consumer costs, and the patchwork of state and federal laws that attempt to offer solutions.

With $3.6 million in support from Arnold Ventures, the team will be able to augment its efforts to better understand the roots of the problem and produce evidence-based insights for consumers, insurers and policymakers.

“Policymakers are well aware that we spend a lot on healthcare,” says Erin Trish, associate director of the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics and the project’s principal investigator. “What they need now is better information on why, and what we can do about it. Our goal with this research is to help provide that insight.”

Arnold Ventures is a Houston-based philanthropy focused on tackling some of the most pressing problems in the United States, including healthcare policy challenges.

New Insights for Actionable Policy Solutions

The researchers will focus on five areas: 1) surprise medical billing, 2) private equity penetration and consolidation in physician markets, 3) dynamics of the nongroup market, 4) out-of-pocket spending and 5) policies to address provider prices.

This approach will fill knowledge gaps that have prevented action or led state and federal policymakers to pursue ineffective solutions. Arnold Ventures previously supported the team’s pathbreaking research and policy analysis on the issue of surprise billing.

“This support will allow the team from USC Schaeffer and Brookings to expand into additional areas where research and policy have been lagging developments in the marketplace,” says Paul Ginsburg, director of the Schaeffer Initiative.

The project’s findings will serve as a resource for more effective, practical and actionable policy approaches moving forward.

The USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy is a partnership between Economic Studies at Brookings and the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics.

In addition to Trish and Ginsburg, the research team includes Loren Adler, associate director of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative; Erin C. Fuse Brown, professor of law at Georgia State University College of Law; Benjamin Chartock, a PhD candidate in Health Care Management & Economics at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; Erin Duffy, a postdoctoral research fellow at the USC Schaeffer Center; Matthew Fiedler, a USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative fellow; Mark Hall, a nonresident senior fellow at Brookings and director of the Health Law and Policy Program at Wake Forest University; Bich Ly, a research programmer at the USC Schaeffer Center; Samuel Valdez, a postdoctoral research fellow at the USC Schaeffer Center; and Christen Linke Young, USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative fellow.