Kosali Simon

O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs IU Bloomington

Office phone:

Areas of Expertise

Health economics and policy, the impact of state and federal regulations attempting to ease the availability of private and public health insurance for vulnerable populations, health and labor market outcomes, Affordable Care Act.

Expert Bio

Kosali Simon is a Distinguished Professor and Herman B Wells Endowed Professor in the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and associate vice provost for health sciences. She is a nationally known health economist who specializes in applying economic analysis in the context of health insurance and health care policy. Her research focuses on the impact of health insurance reform on health care and labor market outcomes, and on the causes and consequences of the opioid crisis.

Expert Videos

[Words appear: What is your area of expertise?] [Video: Kosali Simon, Herman B Wells Endowed Professor and associate vice provost for health sciences, is interviewed on camera] Simon speaks: I'm Kosali Simon. I'm a health economist, and I teach and do research in the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs. [Words appear: How would you explain this area to someone who is unfamiliar with it?] [Video: Simon is interviewed on camera] Simon speaks: So economics combines these fundamental principles of theory that understand how people might react to a change in incentives and combines that with bringing in large-scale data to test out theories. So we want to know if we could get all of the hospital data, all the pharmaceutical data in the U.S., what is it we should expect from a good policy and can we see that actually happening with changes that have been made? [Words appear: What are some of your key accomplishments in this area?] [Video: Simon is interviewed on camera] Simon speaks: When the Affordable Care Act passed, it provided me an opportunity to take what I had been studying in the context of state insurance reform and apply it to federal change. So one of the first things I studied was the first provision of the Affordable Care Act that people mostly will remember, which is the young adult mandate. This was a law that allowed children until the age of 26 to remain on employer-provided health insurance of their parents, and it was a bipartisan, really popular aspect of the Affordable Care Act. What my colleagues and I did when we knew this feature was in the Affordable Care Act was think ahead of time about what data and what methods would help us answer this key question of "Was it successful?" So we were able to take government-provided data sets and very quickly turn it into answers that showed the number of Americans that were insured was more than people had ever imagined. It was close to 2 million. This led to a publication in a widely read economics journal and coverage in major news outlets such as The New York Times. [Words appear: What do you regard as the top issues in your area right now?] [Video: Simon is interviewed on camera] Simon speaks: My two research areas right now are health care reform and the opioid crisis. In the area of health care reform, which has been a struggle for this nation for decades, the big question that remains is both a political one and an economic one. How are we going to figure out how to cover more people's health care at a low price as possible, and what are the ways we are going to get political will to try things out. Within the broad topic of the opioid crisis, which has been identified as one of the Grand Challenges of the university, the big question that comes next is how we get people into treatment and how we avoid public health issues like this in the future. [Words appear: What could policymakers do to address these issues?] [Video: Simon is interviewed on camera] Simon speaks: The opioid crisis is really scary for everybody because of the fast pace of change. On the one hand, we seem to know what policies can reduce the prescribing of opioids, but what do we do about the illicit market? Ultimately where policy needs to be focusing is strengthening behavioral health. Not only would that help us in overcoming this current crisis, but it will also make us able to deal with whatever public health crisis comes next around the corner. One of the reasons it's really hard to predict where we're headed with health care reform in the U.S. is that it's not only the evidence on what works that seems to carry the day. There's a heavy dose of politics involved, and it's hard to predict what policymakers are thinking that their constituents will want them to do. [Video: The Indiana University trident appears] [Words appear: Indiana University] [Words appear: Fulfilling the Promise] [Words appear: iu.edu]
View full bio

Updated on: February 21, 2022