Alan Sager

Professor, Health Policy & Management

Expertise:
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Education:

Brandeis University, BA
University of Miami, MEd
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, PhD

Contact Info:

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Alan Sager specialized in health in graduate school because it looked like the easiest sector in which to win affordable equity for all Americans since so much money was already spent on medical care. (Not easy-just easier than anything else.) His main interests are health reform, combining universal coverage with cost control, improving both finance… Read more

Alan Sager specialized in health in graduate school because it looked like the easiest sector in which to win affordable equity for all Americans since so much money was already spent on medical care. (Not easy-just easier than anything else.) His main interests are health reform, combining universal coverage with cost control, improving both finance and delivery, and preserving needed physician, hospital, and long-term care services. He has studied causes and effects of urban hospital closings, finding a strong and persistent link between race of the people living near a hospital and the probability of closing. Hospital efficiency doesn’t predicts survival. With his fellow-director of the Health Reform Program, Deborah Socolar ’89, he has investigated the sources of high health costs in Massachusetts and designed methods to cover all uninsured residents without increasing spending. During the past decade, he and Debbie have studied the causes of high U.S. pharmaceutical prices. They have designed a “prescription drug peace treaty” that fully covers all Americans at a small added cost, while protecting and energizing drug makers’ innovative research. They found that the 2003 Medicare law providing a drug benefit would boost drug makers’ profits by one-third because it failed to constrain prices meaningfully. Alan designed a “time banking” method of mobilizing voluntary help for people with disabilities. By creating a market for good deeds, it allows volunteers to help others when convenient. Time would be banked.  Former volunteers who themselves needed help could trade their banked time for help from a new volunteer. Policy and research interests include equal access to health care, cost control, hospital survival, long-term care, health reform.  Alan holds a B.A. in economics from Brandeis and a Ph.D. in city and regional planning (specializing in health care) from MIT.

In the Media

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  • Court Saves Obamacare’s Bacon

    June 25, 2015

    MedPage Today Alan Sager, School of Public Health The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 Thursday that people who buy insurance through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) federally run insurance exchange can continue to receive subsidies to help pay their premiums… Expert quote: “Happily, the Supreme Court today voted 6-3 to obviate still more unnecessary waste. … […]

  • Closing ER ‘slows the bleeding,’ but Mid City General hospital still faces other obstacles

    May 30, 2015

    The Advocate Alan Sager, School of Pubic Health Baton Rouge General–Mid City closed its emergency room to save itself but is exploring more changes as the hospital maneuvers to find a way forward in a competitive market… Expert quote: “In the studies I’ve done, in decade after decade, larger hospitals, major teaching hospitals are more […]

  • Health data breaches: No one is immune

    March 30, 2015

    Government Health IT Alan Sager, School of Public Health Up to one-quarter of Americans may have been affected by the Anthem Healthcare data breach in February — estimates that dwarf last year’s Community Health Systems breach by an order of magnitude… Expert quote: “The ability of health care companies to compile data has grown far […]

  • Challenge looms for new Partners CEO David Torchiana

    February 22, 2015

    Boston Globe (subscription required) Alan Sager, School of Public Health When his colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital toasted David F. Torchiana’s recent promotion to the top job at Partners HealthCare, they hoisted cans of Coca-Cola… Expert quote: “I don’t know how much difference one individual can make. Partners has been saying for 20 years that […]

  • Anthem hack raises fears on medical data — and could have been worse

    February 6, 2015

    Los Angeles Times Alan Sager, School of Public Health Insurance giant Anthem Inc. suffered a massive data breach exposing the personal information of up to 80 million Americans — and it could have been even worse for consumers… Expert quote: “The ability of healthcare companies to compile data has grown far faster than their ability […]

  • The Politics of Immunization: Measles and Media

    February 4, 2015

    MedPage Today Alan Sager, School of Public Health The recent measles outbreak in California has made vaccination — which used to be just a public health issue and a topic for Internet chat room debate — into a political football… Expert quote: “Some Americans oppose mandatory immunizations because they hate or mistrust government compulsion. Others fear rumored dangers […]

  • Merger collapse puts Partners in tight spot

    January 31, 2015

    Boston Herald Alan Sager, School of Public Health Partners HealthCare will have to tread carefully on any future expansion, or risk a takedown attempt by Attorney General Maura Healey, a hospital expert predicted yesterday… Expert quote: “If Partners keeps on attacking and capturing more land, the AG may say, you know these folks are out […]

  • Competition Concerns Killed Partners’ HealthCare Deal

    January 30, 2015

    WGBH News Alan Sager, School of Public Health A Suffolk Superior Court Judge Thursday struck down a controversial deal that would allow Partners Healthcare to add three hospitals to its already expansive statewide network… Expert quote: “I don’t think it’s really possible to get a competitive free market in health care, but in the world […]

  • In-network coverage at risk in St. Vincent, MetroWest dispute with Tufts Health Plan

    December 15, 2014

    Worcester Telegram & Gazette Alan Sager, School of Public Health A contract dispute between Tufts Health Plan and two local hospitals spilled into the public domain Sunday, with both sides taking out newspaper advertisements to explain a situation that could result in thousands of subscribers losing in-network coverage… Expert quote: “We have the rhetoric of […]

  • Mayor, union reserve judgment on possible BMC-Tufts merger

    December 12, 2014

    Boston Herald Alan Sager, School of Public Health Mayor Martin J. Walsh and a key health workers union are taking a wait-and-see stance on the possible merger between Tufts Medical Center and Boston Medical Center — which will be judged, they say, based on how well the teaching hospitals operate as a fused entity… Expert […]

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