Health Costs of Air Pollution in California

RAND Briefing to California Delegation on Health Costs of Air Pollution,

As you may know, RAND recently published a study that estimates spending on hospital care in California due to the harmful health effects of air pollution. The lead author of the report, John Romley, will be in Washington, DC on Thursday, June 24, to brief findings from the research to California delegation staff. The briefing is  from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at 234 Cannon House Office Building. It is sponsored by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren and Congressman David Dreier

The harmful health effects of air pollution are well understood. Less is known about the cost burden that these effects impose on the health care system. RAND researchers addressed these questions by estimating spending on hospital care in California due to the failure to meet federal and state standards for particulate matter and ozone emissions. More people in California live in areas that do not meet federal air quality standards than in any other state.

The analysis found that:

* Failing to meet federal air quality standards led to nearly 30,000 hospital admissions and emergency room visits in California from 2005 through 2007.
* The resulting spending was about $193 million over the three-year period.
* Public insurers Medicare and Medi-Cal spent the most-$104 million and $28 million, respectively-and private insurers spent $56 million.

The results suggest that publicly funded insurers as well as employers and private insurers would benefit financially from reductions in air pollution.

Please RSVP to kristy_anderson@rand.org or 703-413-1100 ext. 5196, if you would like to schedule a meeting with Mr. Romley for a separate meeting.

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