Benjamin Sommers

Associate Professor of Health Policy and Economics
Organization
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Benjamin Sommers, MD, PhD, is associate professor of health policy and economics at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is a health economist and primary care physician whose main research interests are health policy for vulnerable populations and the health care safety net. He has received numerous awards for his research, including the Health Services Research Impact Award for his work on the Affordable Care Act and the Article-of-the-Year Award from AcademyHealth, as well as the Outstanding Junior Investigator Award from the Society of General Internal Medicine. In 2011-2012, he served as a senior adviser in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. His current research projects focus on barriers to health care access among low-income adults, Medicaid policy, and national health reform.

 

Projects

How will Work Requirements in Medicaid Affect Low-Income Families?

While multiple studies show a positive association between employment status and improved physical and mental health, it is unclear whether this relationship is causal. Building on work in Kentucky, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Texas, the research team will analyze the effects of Medicaid work requirements on coverage rates, access to care, and employment among low-income adults.

Did the ACA Affect Mortality and Survival?

Numerous studies have documented the ACA’s positive effects on coverage, access, and health care quality, but changes in mortality have not yet been rigorously assessed. Using data from a variety of sources, the team will assess the relationship between coverage expansion and population changes in mortality over time.

Private Insurance versus Medicaid: Health Outcomes for Low-Income Adults

Combining claims data and income eligibility information for low-income adults in Colorado, the research team will investigate the differences in health care utilization, quality, and costs among low-income adults enrolled in Medicaid versus subsidized Marketplace coverage.