Pork Barrel Spending and the Health Care Industry

Publication date 
October 25, 2017
A New York Times article draws attention to an important research paper written by a group of ISPS researchers: Zack Cooper, Amanda Kowalski, Jennifer Wu and Eleanor Powell (now at the University of Wisconsin-Madison). After analyzing a provision in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, known as Section 508, the researchers found evidence linking health care industry’s lobbying power on congressional members and their districts. This pork barrel spending in certain hospitals throughout the country ultimately increases health care costs for everyone.
“We need to design a system that takes payment decisions out of the hands of elected representatives. We think of interest rates as so important and complicated that we’ve tried to remove politics and give the responsibility to the Fed. The same argument holds for health care. When the government spends a trillion dollars on health care, it’s too easy for members to direct funds to their districts.” Zack Cooper
Area of study