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Professor: Upheld Care Act Has Positive Effects for Insured, Noninsured

Carole Gresenz

“Our work suggests that, by reducing the rate of uninsurance, the Affordable Care Act will also have positive effects on access to and quality of health care among those who are already insured,” says Carole Roan Gresenz, inaugural holder of the Bette Jacobs Endowed Professorship.

June 28, 2012 – The inaugural holder of a new professorship at Georgetown’s School of Nursing & Health Studies says the Affordable Care Act, upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court today, will result in positive effects for people with and without health insurance.

“If fully implemented, the Affordable Care Act will result in tens of millions of Americans who are currently uninsured gaining insurance coverage,” says Carole Roan Gresenz, who recently joined the school as the inaugural holder of the Bette Jacobs Endowed Professorship.

Gresenz, who spent nearly 20 years with the RAND Corporation as senior economist, collaborates with José J. Escarce of the University of California at Los Angeles’ David Geffen School of Medicine. Their research examines the “spillover effects” of the percentage of people in a community who are uninsured on the community’s insured population.

Rigorous Methods

“Our work suggests that, by reducing the rate of uninsurance, the Affordable Care Act will also have positive effects on access to and quality of health care among those who are already insured,” she says of the research funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Any complete accounting of the potential effects of the act would be remiss without consideration of the spillover effects on the insured."

The well-known health economist says the team’s recent research was the first to estimate the substantial deleterious effects of the community [uninsurance] rate on health care received by insured Americans using “rigorous econometric methods.”

“We also extended earlier work by estimating these ‘spillover’ effects on not only working-age insured Americans but also seniors as well,” she says.

Cancer in Washington

Gresenz is now working on various other research projects, including an initiative with the DC Cancer Consortium.

“My colleagues at RAND and I have been working closely with the consortium in an effort to track the District’s progress toward improved cancer-related health and health care outcomes among the city’s residents” she said.

The team has provided technical advice regarding metrics for evaluating the consortium’s grants program and is continuing to work on developing an evidence base to support ongoing monitoring of cancer prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and other outcomes.

Gresenz has contributed to more than 30 peer-reviewed publications, including in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Health Affairs, the British Medical Journal and Health Services Research.

Reflective Scholarship

She says she decided to join the NHS faculty because of the school’s mission.

“The school’s commitment to reflective scholarship and social justice in the context of health care attracted me to Georgetown,” she says.

NHS Dean Martin Y. Iguchi and Patricia Cloonan, the department’s chair, announced Gresenz’s appointment.

Strong Asset

“As the first holder of this professorship, Dr. Gresenz will contribute to the department’s teaching and research mission,” they wrote in their appointment letter. “Her background in policy analysis and health systems and her expertise in economics will be a strong asset to our undergraduate program in health care management and policy, as well as our graduate program in health systems administration.”

Iguchi and Cloonan also thanked Timothy Shannon (NHS’07) and his family for their gift to endow the professorship in honor of Bette Jacobs, who served as the school’s dean from 1999-2010 and is now a professor within the department.

Shannon is a graduate of the health care management & policy program and a member of the school’s board of advisors.

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