Do Physicians Cost Shift?

Thomas Rice, Sally Stearns, Susan DesHarnais, Donald Pathman, Ming Tai-Seale, Michelle Brasure

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study analyzes whether physicians charge their privately insured patients more-a practice known as cost shifting-in response to Medicare payment reductions. As part of congressional legislation in 1989 and 1990, Medicare reduced its payment rates for selected procedures by as much as 30 percent. Here we examine whether reductions in Medicare rates increase how much physicians charge privately insured patients. Our data provide no evidence that physicians respond to Medicare payment reductions by shifting costs to their privately insured patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)215-225
Number of pages11
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996


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