Reductions in Medicare Payments and Patient Outcomes: An Analysis of 5 Leading Medicare Conditions

Medical Care: November 2013


Background: The Affordable Care Act enacted significant Medicare payment reductions to providers, yet the effects of such major reductions on patients remain unclear. We used the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997 as a natural experiment to study the long-term consequence of major payment reductions on patient outcomes.

Objectives: To analyze whether mortality trends diverge over the years between hospitals facing different levels of payment cuts because of the BBA for 5 leading conditions: acute myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, stroke, pneumonia, and hip fracture.

Research Design: Using 100% Medicare claims between 1995 and 2005, hospital database, and published reports on BBA policy components, we compared changes in outcomes between hospitals facing small and large BBA payment reductions across 3 periods (pre-BBA, initial-BBA, and post-BBA) using instrumental variable hospital fixed-effects regression models.Read More