A Health Podyssey

Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil interviews Leemore Dafny from Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School on hospital prices, market concentration and why market measurements are lacking.

Show Notes

The US government reports that the total spending on hospital care in 2019 was almost $1.2 trillion. High and highly variable hospital prices have been in the news recently in part due to new information made available under the price transparency rules implemented by the Trump administration.

Competitive markets are supposed to constrain prices, but in much of the US, there's little competition among hospitals and consolidation throughout the healthcare sector has contributed to that consolidation. The result is a number of proposals to regulate health care prices in general and for hospital prices in particular.

Leemore Dafny from the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School joins Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil to discuss her latest research on hospital prices and market concentration.

Dafny and colleagues published a paper in the September 2021 issue of Health Affairs analyzing hospital prices and relating them to market concentration. The authors found the relationship isn't as straightforward as one might expect — but the findings still have major implications for any consideration of regulating hospital prices.

If you like this interview, order the September issue of Health Affairs.

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What is A Health Podyssey?

Each week, Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil brings you in-depth conversations with leading researchers and influencers shaping the big ideas in health policy and the health care industry.

A Health Podyssey goes beyond the pages of the health policy journal Health Affairs to tell stories behind the research and share policy implications. Learn how academics and economists frame their research questions and journey to the intersection of health, health care, and policy. Health policy nerds rejoice! This podcast is for you.