Bradley Herring, Ph.D.

September 14, 2010

Bradley Herring, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy & Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and the director of their Ph.D. program in health economics & policy. Dr. Herring’s research has primarily focused on economic and public policy issues related to health insurance coverage. Examples of past topics include health care inflation’s impact on wage growth, state efforts at covering uninsured adults, Medicaid HMOs, and the individual health insurance market. His work has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Health Economics, and Health Affairs. Dr. Herring was also a co-author of the book Pooling Health Insurance Risks. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins University in 2007, Dr. Herring was an assistant professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University, and a senior economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisors.

Dr. Herring received his Ph.D. from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania. After completing his doctoral work, he received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholars Fellowship in health policy at Yale University. Dr. Herring received a B.S.E. in biomedical engineering from Tulane University.

Between 2007 and 2009, Dr. Herring served as the principal investigator for a HCFO study that investigated how rising healthcare premiums affect worker compensation. Herring found that across all workers, roughly 70 percent of premium increases are borne by workers by way of lower wage increases. That number reaches almost 100 percent when excluding low-wage workers, those for whom these costs might be more difficult for employers to pass along. “Our results should help shed some light on the age-old question about who ultimately pays for employment-based insurance: employers or employees,” said Dr. Herring. “We would argue that the new health care legislation’s attempts to reduce health care spending over time should ultimately benefit workers through relatively higher annual raises in their wages. Moreover, we’d expect that employers’ decisions to either start or stop offering coverage as a result of the ‘play or pay’ mandate will be reflected in their workers’ wages.” 

Dr. Herring has also served as the principal investigator for another HCFO study that explored the market-level effects of Medicaid HMOs on physician participation, enrollee access, and program costs. Their results suggested that states may have experienced modest benefits in access for enrollees from contracting with commercial HMOs to provide services to the Medicaid population. While they did find evidence of a small increase in office-based physician participation in one study, they did not find evidence that the use of commercial HMOs altered other measures of access, utilization, or expenses for enrollees in another study. “About half of the uninsured gaining coverage under the new healthcare legislation are expected to be covered by the Medicaid program, likely presenting state policymakers with decisions about whether to contract with Medicaid HMOs for their care,” said Herring. “Our research findings would suggest that contracting with commercial HMOs might increase enrollees’ access to office-based primary care physicians, but states probably shouldn’t expect any significant cost savings to accrue over time from using HMOs.” 

To read more about Dr. Herring’s study and findings, see the HCFO Findings Brief, “Does Medicaid Managed Care Market Penetration Impact Provider Participation, Costs, Utilization, and Access?”