Zack Cooper Awarded NIHCM Prize for Outstanding Research

Professor Zack Cooper, Health Economist
April 22, 2019

Zack Cooper has received the NIHMC annual research award for his paper “The Price Ain’t Right? Hospital Prices and Health Spending on the Privately Insured.” The paper was co-authored with Stuart V. Craig, Martin Gaynor, and John Van Reenen and published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics (Sept 2018).

For 25 years NIHMC has recognized outstanding published work from researchers furthering innovation in health care financing, delivery and organization or the implementation of health care policy.

The Cooper et al. paper used private insurance claims to study the variation in health spending and the pricing of hospital services in the United States, finding that hospital prices increased significantly when merging hospitals were geographically close, and that hospitals in concentrated markets had higher prices and were able to negotiate more favorable contractual terms with insurers.

According to NIHMC site, “The judges were impressed with the national reach of this work and its impact in transforming perceptions and raising public policy questions regarding antitrust enforcement.”

Read a selection of articles on the paper that has caused a rethink in health economics:

Yale News: ”Why Is Healthcare So Expensive?” an interview with Zack Cooper
Upshot: “The Experts Were Wrong About the Best Places for Better and Cheaper Health Care” 
Forbes: “Why Are Hospital Prices So Crazy?”
Hartford Courant: “Hospital Study Finds Wide Disparity in Health Care Costs”