Zack Cooper, Fiona Scott Morton, and Nathan Shekita won the 2021 NIHCM award for their paper “Surprise! Out-of-Network Billing for Emergency Care in the United States,” published in the Journal of Political Economy (September 2020).
The original 2016 study was published as a working paper and garnered much attention by exposing a costly national problem: surprise medical bills. The paper and a subsequent article published in the New England Journal of Medicine caught the attention of lawmakers in DC, who then began to consult the authors on the issue.
After many meetings in DC and additional studies on the topic, a provision was included in the December 2020 COVID-relief funding package and enacted into law. The bill is a rare bipartisan agreement and demonstrates how thorough academic research can inform public policy for the common good.
The prize comes with an award of $20,000.