Miriam Laugesen, PhD, is a political scientist whose research focuses on the impact of medical societies and physician groups on physician payment policy, in Congress and through the regulatory process. Building her past work on medical societies and Medicare payment policy, Laugesen is currently completing a book on the Resource-Based Relative Value Scale, which is used by Medicare and most U.S. private insurers to calculate Medicare payments. Her research on this process has received funding through a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.
Project publications to date include a paper with colleagues published in Health Affairs showing that between 1994 and 2010, 90 percent of the American Medical Association's Relative Value Update Committee (RUC) recommendations to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) were either accepted by CMS or increased. This paper was the first independent analysis of long-range trends in CMS decisions and RUC recommendations. Another Health Affairs paper drew national attention when it reported substantial differences between the prices paid for hip replacements in the U.S. and in other countries. The paper also reported a larger gap between the earnings of orthopedic surgeons and primary care doctors in the U.S. than in other countries. Laugesen has also written and collaborated on a wide range of projects and research grants relating to public health at the state and local level and the political economy of the healthcare system in the U.S. and abroad.