A Meeting Yesterday

I was recently elected to the Executive Committee of the Academic Council at Duke (subset of the overarching Faculty governance group at Duke) for a term to start in the Fall Semester, 2013. As best I can tell, this group gets blamed when things go wrong and no credit if they go well, so I plan to use my membership to beg off all other committees for the next two years (but that is another story; Hi new Dean of Public Policy!). Anyway, yesterday the new members met (from 11am to 1pm, before the release of the new Medicaid study) with the current group for both an introduction to the group as well as an outline of the big issues facing the University and thus the Executive Committee next year/in the long run. One of the big issues is “Compensation/Employee Benefits” and of course that includes health insurance (I am already imagining being blamed). As we talked a bit about the health insurance of Duke University’s employees, I doodled this.

ScreenHunter_01 May. 02 10.42

The doodle is of a hypothetical RCT of Duke’s employees to 3 arms: Duke’s typical health insurance options, a catastrophic insurance plan (that doesn’t now exist as an option), and cash payment in lieu of health insurance. Outcome measures would be health, financial impact of illness, and employee satisfaction with the benefit package. Of course this will never be done (and there are many reasons it could not be done). However, in theory, this sort of thing could answer the question what impact does health insurance have on health and other outcomes.

About Don Taylor
Professor of Public Policy at Duke University (with appointments in Business, Nursing, Community and Family Medicine, and the Duke Clinical Research Institute). I am one of the founding faculty of the Margolis Center for Health Policy, and currently serve as Chair of Duke's University Priorities Committee (UPC). My research focuses on improving care for persons who are dying, and I am co-PI of a CMMI award in Community Based Palliative Care. I teach both undergrads and grad students at Duke. On twitter @donaldhtaylorjr

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