March 15, 2021 – Health Care

Scholars at University of Chicago research consumer-driven health care options


The rapid development of vaccines promises progress in the fight against COVID-19, but the pandemic has exposed deep challenges and inequities in our health care system. Rising medical costs, a shortage of clinicians, and an aging population will compound these obstacles even after the virus is under control.

To provide quality, affordable care to more people, the country needs solutions that unleash innovation and empower patients.

With a nearly $500,000 grant from the Charles Koch Foundation, University of Chicago scholars Casey Mulligan and Tomas Philipson will develop a roadmap for creating new consumer-driven health care options. The mission of the Initiative on Enabling Choice and Competition in Healthcare Markets is to enhance health care choice by fostering a vibrant community that is committed to advancing fundamental economic research on competitiveness in the health care sector.

Medical and public health research are already at the forefront of efforts to improve health care delivery and effectiveness. What will set Mulligan and Philipson’s initiative apart is its focus on applying the tools of economic analysis to understand the basic forces that influence health care markets and health care policy.

The Initiative will explore issues such as federal regulation, innovation, incentives, and the fiscal constraints that influence health care markets, and will produce research and events that aim to inform key decision-makers and the public. The grant from the Charles Koch Foundation also will support pre- and post-doctoral fellowships and will provide mentorship and hands-on experience for rising economic scholars at the University of Chicago who want to be future leaders in the health care field.

“Casey and Tomas will provide a venue and institutional support for scholars who want to explore the solutions that will expand consumer-driven health care options,” said CKF Executive Director Ryan Stowers. “Having quality, affordable medical care is consistently ranked as one of the top priorities for Americans. We’re excited to support this initiative, which will develop practical, evidence-based research that will help identify the barriers that are preventing improved outcomes.”

The Charles Koch Foundation partners with social entrepreneurs to drive societal progress through academic research and innovations that help all learners realize their potential.