A Website Allows Evaluation of a Variety of Health Reform Proposals

Field of Work: Developing a website to compare health reform efforts.

Problem Synopsis: When state and federal policy-makers consider health reform legislation they are often faced with a confusing array of proposals whose effects in a given area are difficult to compare. In 2005, RAND Health launched the Comprehensive Assessment of Reform Efforts (COMPARE) Initiative to objectively assess various policy options proposed to reform health care in the United States. Its goal was to develop information to demonstrate what the U.S. health care system would look like over the next 20 years if no major policy changes were enacted and then to compare that picture with what it would look like under different health care reform proposals.

Synopsis of the Work: From 2007 to 2009, staff at the health research division of the RAND Corporation created a microsimulation model that permits policy-makers, health care experts and the media to evaluate the potential effects of a variety of health reform proposals on several important issues, including health care coverage and cost. This project was part of the Comprehensive Assessment of Reform Efforts (COMPARE) Initiative and website that RAND Health established in 2005 to help the general public and policy-makers sort out various aspects of different health reform proposals and evaluate their effects.

Key Results

RAND Corporation staff and consultants:

  • Compiled information on the state of the United States health care system
  • Created a list of the most common health reform options discussed in federal, state and private health care reform proposals or legislation
  • Created a framework to analyze the effects of different policy options on nine performance criteria
  • Developed a microsimulation model that allows users to evaluate the potential effects of a variety of health reform proposals by plugging in different variables to explore the impact of various proposals on specific outcomes, with customized graphs and tables for illustration
  • Launched a website to disseminate the results of the project through peer-reviewed papers, fact sheets, briefings and webinars.