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 always 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 a vice president and senior fellow in the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute. He has studied health economics and health policy for 35 years and is a national expert on Medicare and Medicaid physician payment, including how payments affect enrollees’ access to care and the volume of services they receive. He is currently focused on exploring the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on family health and well-being using data from two internet-based surveys of nonelderly adults designed by the Urban Institute. In addition, Zuckerman has published several recent studies on hospital finances and Medicare Advantage and is completing an evaluation of the State Innovation Model in Michigan, which is trying to improve the connection between primary care and community-based social services. Before joining the Urban Institute, Zuckerman worked at the American Medical Association’s Center for Health Policy Research. He received his BA from Lehman College, City University of New York, and his PhD in economics from Columbia University.