urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

Stephen Zuckerman

Stephen Zuckerman

Senior Fellow

"People seek health insurance because they do not know when and how much care they will need. However, because of this third party – the health insurer, most patients never know how much health care costs. This has led to a costly system that does not necessarily provide patients with the highest quality of care. The challenge of health policy research is to develop policies that improve efficiency while maintaining access to needed and affordable care for all people."

Stephen Zuckerman is an expert on Medicare and Medicaid policies, with a focus on physician and hospital payment and the health care safety net. Recent studies have examined geographic variation in Medicare spending, the incremental costs of developing “medical homes,” Medicare benefit design and low-income subsidies, and variation in Medicaid physician fees. He has written extensively on Medicare physician payment, including the development of the geographic practice cost indices used in the Medicare Fee Schedule, responses to changes on Medicare physician fees, and the effects of the Medicare payment policies on the distribution of spending across specialties.

Zuckerman has also studied Medicaid managed care, state budget problems and their impact on Medicaid financing, and a new approach to health insurance survey questions that led to the addition of a confirmation question at the end of the Current Population Survey insurance coverage sequence. Zuckerman testified before Congress about cost containment within the Clinton health reform proposal and the need for geographic adjustments in the Medicare physician fee schedule. Current projects include studies of the effects of expanded funding for community health centers on access to care and potential approaches to realigning physician payment to promote primary care. He is currently serving on the editorial board of Health Services Research.

Areas of expertise

Physician payment, Medicare, Medicaid, health care spending, health care safety net.

Selected Publications from Stephen Zuckerman

  • Reforming Beneficiary Cost Sharing to Improve Medicare Performance - Appendix 1: Data and Simulation Methods
  • Clarifying Sources of Geographic Differences in Medicare Spending
  • Trends In Medicaid Physician Fees, 2003-2008
  • Publications by topic:
    Health and Health Care
    Health Statistics
    Hospitals and Physicians
    Health Insurance
    Uninsured/Uncompensated Care
    Other Data

    See all publications by Stephen Zuckerman

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