Medicare reform, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), and prisons: these are some of the topics that LDI Fellows wrote books about over the past year that make for great summer reading. Take a look.

Lawton Robert Burns

The Healthcare Value Chain: Demystifying the Role of GPOs and PBMs

Lawton Robert Burns, PhD, MBA, The Wharton School (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022)

Group purchasing organizations (GPOs) and PBMs are often depicted in the media as nefarious intermediaries. Burns’ book lays to rest several of the myths surrounding these organizations. He pays particular attention to their historical evolution, as well as the “evidence based on the performance results of these two players.”  

Dan Hopkins

Stable Condition: Elites’ Limited Influence on Health Care Attitudes

Daniel J. Hopkins, PhD, School of Arts and Sciences (Russell Sage Foundation, 2023)

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) looms large in Americans’ political imaginations. Hopkins draws upon survey data from 2009-2020 to examine the role of political elites on influencing public opinion of the legislation. Public opinion toward the ACA remained stable from 2010-2016, despite all the media hoopla. And only when repeal was on the horizon during the Trump administration did support in favor of the legislation surge.

Olivia Mitchell

Pension Funds and Sustainable Investment: Challenges and Opportunities

Olivia S. Mitchell, PhD, The Wharton School
(Oxford University Press, 2023)

In this edited volume, Mitchell and colleagues examine how environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria are entwined with pension fund investments, which can affect the elderly and their health care. More specifically, the authors discuss ESG investments’ pros and cons, while also availing themselves of case studies from the U.S. and abroad.  

Mark Pauly

Why Medicare Reform Has Been Hard: A Public Choice Perspective in Modernizing Medicare: Harnessing the Power of Consumer Choice and Market Competition

Mark V. Pauly, PhD, The Wharton School
(Johns Hopkins University Press, 2023)

In this book chapter, Pauly examines “public choice” in Medicare, applying “economic analysis to political decisions.” He notes that historically, making structural changes to Medicare has been difficult, but sees an alternative path that “seeks first to improve seniors’ experience with Medicare by harnessing the power of competition in ways that also secure better financial value.”

Paul Rosenbaum

Causal Inference

Paul R. Rosenbaum, PhD, AM, The Wharton School (MIT University Press, 2023)

In a short primer, Rosenbaum offers an introduction to causal inference, a statistical technique that draws causal conclusions based on data. He uses illustrative examples from “medicine, epidemiology, economics and business, the social sciences, and public policy.”

Prisons and Health in the Age of Mass Incarceration

Jason S. Schnittker, PhD, School of Arts and Sciences
(Oxford University Press, May 2022)

Over 2 million individuals are incarcerated in the U.S. alone. In their monograph, Schnittker and colleagues explore the paradox at the heart of prisons and health care: How can prisons simultaneously be “punitive and therapeutic?” The authors examine the wide-reaching impact on inmates; their families and communities; and state and national health policy.