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Jacob Goldin receives NIHCM Award for his research on health insurance and mortality

Jacob Goldin, a professor of law and SIEPR faculty fellow, receives the 2022 National Institute for Health Care Management Research Award.

Jacob Goldin, a professor of law at Stanford Law School and a faculty fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), was awarded a National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) 2022 Research Award for his study showing potential links between mortality and health care coverage.

NIHCM awards recognize the contributions of researchers and journalists who bring to light new evidence that advances the health system and the health of Americans.

Goldin won the 2022 research award along with two co-recipients, Ithai Z. Lurie and Janet McCubbin, for their research paper that was published in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, titled “Health Insurance and Mortality: Experimental Evidence from Taxpayer Outreach.”

Goldin and his co-authors, Lurie and McCubbin, who were both part of the Office of Tax Analysis in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, conducted research to evaluate a randomized outreach study in which the IRS sent informational letters to 3.9 million households that paid a tax penalty for lacking health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Their results shed light on the operation of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate provision and provided experimental evidence that health insurance coverage can reduce mortality in the United States.

Their research, which was featured in The New York Times, showed that the informational letters increased health insurance sign-ups, which, in turn, may have reduced premature deaths. Americans between 45 and 64 benefited the most from the intervention: For every 1,648 who received a letter, one fewer death occurred than among those who hadn’t received a letter, the researchers found.

“We were fortunate to have the opportunity to study such an important policy, and to see the results inform the design of future outreach efforts as well as broader questions about the value of health insurance,” Goldin and his co-recipients said in winning the award.

The NIHCM Foundation recognizes outstanding published work from researchers furthering innovation in health care financing, delivery and organization or the implementation of health care policy. Entries for the annual NIHCM awards — now in its 28th year — are reviewed by a panel of independent judges.

Recipients in prior years include SIEPR’s Trione Director Mark Duggan, in 2011, and SIEPR senior fellows Daniel Kessler in 2004, and Laurence Baker, in 2000 and 1998.

A version of this story was originally published on April 25 by Stanford Law School.