Alan P. Sager, PhD

Professor, Health Law, Policy & Management
Alan Sager
Talbot – T344W
View full profile at BUMC


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. 


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

Classes Taught

  • SPHPM702
  • SPHPM702
  • SPHPM735
  • SPHPM834
  • SPHPM931
  • SPHPM931


  • Published on 2/10/2013

    Sager A. Simple steps can protect, expand primary care capacity. Med Econ. 2013 Feb 10; 90(3):68, 67. PMID: 23875277.

    Read at: PubMed
  • Published on 2/20/2012

    Alan Sager. Hospital Closings: Causes, Consequences, and Responses. Boston Occupier. 2012.

    Read at: Custom
  • Published on 8/31/2011

    Alan Sager. Paying New York State Hospitals More Fairly for Their Care to Uninsured Patients. A Report to the Commission on the Public’s Health System. New York, New York. 2011; 168 pages.

    Read at: Custom
  • Published on 3/15/2010

    Alan Sager and Deborah Socolar. Massachusetts Hospital Spending Reached 55.4 per Person above the U.S. Average in 2007: Most of Excess Is Unjustified and State's Health Reform Law Is Neglible. 2010; 211 pages.

    Read at: Custom
  • Published on 3/10/2010

    Alan Sager. Why Stabilizing St. Vincent's Is Essential. The Villager. 2010; 1.

    Read at: Custom
  • Published on 2/11/2009

    Alan Sager and Deborah Socolar. This Year’s $72 Billion in Health Spending in Massachusetts Is Enough to Finance the Care that Works: Proposals to Simply Bundle Payments to Hospitals and Doctors for Individual Episodes of Care, While Reasonable and Well-intentioned, Are Not Likely to Contain Costs. 2009.

    Read at: Custom
  • Published on 7/21/2008

    Alan Sager and Deborah Socolar. Make Doctors Agents of Health Care Cost Controls. Boston Globe op-ed. 2008; 1.

    Read at: Custom
  • Published on 5/1/2007

    Alan Sager and Deborah Socolar. Mass. Mess: Mandates Ensure Everyone Is Covered--Inadequately. 2007.

    Read at: Custom
  • Published on 3/18/2007

    Alan Sager and Deborah Socolar. Seeking a Cure for Health Care: New York State Needs to Cut Waste, Not Close Hospitals. 2007.

  • Published on 1/1/2007

    Sager A. Facing the long-term care crisis: lessons from Robert Morris' innovations. J Aging Soc Policy. 2007; 19(3):119-24. PMID: 17613476.

    Read at: PubMed

View 31 more publications:View full profile at BUMC

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