Amitabh Chandra

Professor of Public Policy, Director of Health Policy Research, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Market-Driven Solutions in Healthcare

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Economist Amitabh Chandra is a leading authority on health economics, on productivity and innovation in healthcare, and on market-driven solutions in healthcare policy. Amitabh has a plan for comprehensive healthcare reform that insures the uninsured, improves quality of care, and eliminates the perverse incentives that currently drive up costs. Amitabh Chandra is a professor of public policy and Director of Health Policy Research at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Market-driven solutions for healthcare. Amitabh’s research shows that market forces do apply in healthcare, contrary to conventional wisdom, but they need to be more intelligently applied. Amitabh proposes increasing competition, giving healthcare consumers greater choices and better information, and using effective measures for patient outcomes, among other changes.

Quality and cost of care. The main driver of rising healthcare costs is new technologies that cost a lot and deliver little or no improvements in patient outcomes. Amitabh would bring science into our coverage and pay for only those technologies that demonstrate positive results. At least as important for good healthcare, he says, is education — a good education has a demonstrably greater impact on healthcare outcomes than healthcare spending itself.

Incentives and reform. Chandra’s strategy for reforming healthcare insures everyone. It ends subsidies for employer-based coverage, which prevents job mobility and business innovation. His plan provides premium supports to those who need it and expands the choices beyond the limits imposed by Medicaid and the employer-based system. It stops using premiums from healthy people to pay for sick people’s coverage. And it encourages long-term coverage; current one-year insurance is prepaid healthcare for one year, not health insurance, he argues.

Entrepreneur. Amitabh is a co-founder of HealthEngine, a healthcare technology company that allows consumers to shop for healthcare the way they shop for virtually everything else and allows physicians to differentiate themselves in a dynamic marketplace.

Credentials. Amitabh Chandra is the Malcolm Wiener Professor of Public Policy and Director of Health Policy Research at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is a member of the Congressional Budget Office's (CBO) Panel of Health Advisors, and is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER). His credentials also include:

  • Testimony: To the United States Senate and the United States Commission on Civil Rights. In 2011 he served as Massachusetts' Special Commissioner on Provider Price Reform.

  • Awards: American Society of Health Economists (ASHE) medal, bestowed to the economist age 40 or under who has made the most significant contributions to the field of health economics; first-prize recipient of the Upjohn Institute's Dissertation Award, the Kenneth Arrow Award for best paper in health economics, and the Eugene Garfield Award for the impact of medical research.

  • Research: Supported by the National Institute of Aging, the National Institute of Child Health and Development, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

  • Consultant: RAND Corporation, Precision Health Economics, Microsoft Research, and the Institute of Medicine. He serves on the advisory boards of Maxwell Health and Kyruus.

  • Publications: Research reported in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Newsweek, and on National Public Radio. Articles in Science, the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and Health Affairs. He is the Chair Editor of the Review of Economics and Statistics, a former editor of the Journal of Human Resources, Economics Letters, and the American Economic Journal.