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Inquiry. 2000 Spring;37(1):75-90.

The marginal benefits of invasive treatments for acute myocardial infarction: does insurance coverage matter?

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  • 1College of Pharmacy, University of Iowa, Iowa City 52242, USA.


This paper applies instrumental variable (IV) techniques and estimates the average benefits of invasive surgical treatments for marginal acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients by insurance coverage. The study uses data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), State Inpatient Databases for the state of Washington, for years 1988-1993. We observed differences in average benefits for marginal patients across insurance subpopulations that cannot be explained by differences in measured clinical circumstances. Our empirical results show that the insurance subpopulations with the greatest estimated marginal benefits are those with the lowest expected payment generosity to providers. Because of the relatively weak explanatory power of our instruments for three insurance subpopulations, and because many of the parameter estimates across the insurance subpopulations are not statistically different from each other, policy recommendations should be approached cautiously. However, our application of IV techniques to AMI patients demonstrates the usefulness of this approach to estimate treatment effects across patient populations (e.g., across types of insurance coverage) for medical conditions of interest to policymakers. These estimates may help determine whether treatments are overutilized or underutilized.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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