Paul Shafer

Paul R. Shafer, PhD

Assistant Professor, Health Law, Policy & Management - Boston University School of Public Health


Dr. Shafer is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Law, Policy, and Management at the Boston University School of Public Health and fellow with the Boston University Institute for Health System Innovation and Policy. His research focuses on the effects of state and federal health insurance policy on coverage, health care use, and health equity. He is also an investigator at the Partnered Evidence-based Policy Resource Center at the VA Boston Healthcare System, where his research focuses on veterans' access to care. His big picture interest is in understanding the effect of social policies and programs on health and well-being. Do they actually work and are the benefits distributed equitably? If they don't work or have unintended consequences, can we understand why and propose changes?

He previously served as a research economist in the Center for Health Policy Science and Tobacco Research at RTI International and junior fellow in the Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. He is a former Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar, which amplified his commitment to policy-engaged scholarship and research translation. He holds a PhD in health policy and management with a concentration in health economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, an MA in applied economics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and a BA in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, PhD
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro, MA

Classes Taught

  • SPHPM822
  • SPHPM844


  • Published on 3/1/2021

    Shafer PR, Hoagland A, Hsu HE. Trends in Well-Child Visits With Out-of-Pocket Costs in the US Before and After the Affordable Care Act. JAMA Netw Open. 2021 Mar 01; 4(3):e211248. PMID: 33710285.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 2/1/2021

    Chen S, Shafer PR, Dusetzina SB, Horný M. Annual Out-Of-Pocket Spending Clusters Within Short Time Intervals: Implications For Health Care Affordability. Health Aff (Millwood). 2021 Feb; 40(2):274-280. PMID: 33523742.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 1/13/2021

    Cole MB, Shafer PR, Gordon SH. What the New Biden Administration May Mean for Medicaid. JAMA Health Forum. 2021.

    Read At: Custom
  • Published on 12/28/2020

    Shafer PR, Huberfeld N. Health Care in the Biden Administration’s First 100 Days. JAMA Health Forum. 2020.

    Read At: Custom
  • Published on 11/17/2020

    Shafer P, Frakt AB. To Truly Build the Affordable Care Act Into Universal Coverage, More Creativity Is Needed. JAMA. 2020 Nov 17; 324(19):1931-1932. PMID: 33201194.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 11/1/2020

    Ellison J, Shafer P, Cole MB. Racial/Ethnic And Income-Based Disparities In Health Savings Account Participation Among Privately Insured Adults. Health Aff (Millwood). 2020 11; 39(11):1917-1925. PMID: 33136490.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 10/15/2020

    Shafer PR, Ndugga N. Fighting the Institutionalization of Racism in Medicaid. Am J Public Health. 2020 12; 110(12):1790-1791. PMID: 33058697.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 9/4/2020

    Shafer PR, Dusetzina SB, Sabik LM, Platts-Mills TF, Stearns SC, Trogdon JG. Insurance instability and use of emergency and office-based care after gaining coverage: An observational cohort study. PLoS One. 2020; 15(9):e0238100. PMID: 32886675.

    Read At: PubMed
  • Published on 7/1/2020

    Shafer PR, Anderson DM, Aquino SM, Baum LM, Fowler EF, Gollust SE. Competing Public and Private Television Advertising Campaigns and Marketplace Enrollment for 2015 to 2018. RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences. 2020; 2(6):85-112.

  • Published on 11/1/2019

    Ngo-Metzger Q, Zuvekas S, Shafer P, Tracer H, Borsky AE, Bierman AS. Statin Use in the U.S. for Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Remains Suboptimal. J Am Board Fam Med. 2019 Nov-Dec; 32(6):807-817. PMID: 31704749.

    Read At: PubMed

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