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Washington State Institute for Public Policy

Benefit-Cost Results

Since the 1990s, the Washington State legislature has directed WSIPP to identify “evidence-based” policies. The goal is to provide Washington policymakers and budget writers with a list of well-researched public policies that can, with a high degree of certainty, lead to better statewide outcomes coupled with a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

Research Approach. WSIPP has developed a three-step process to draw conclusions about what works and what does not to achieve particular outcomes of legislative interest. First, we systematically assess all high-quality studies from the United States and elsewhere to identify policy options that have been tested and found to achieve improvements in outcomes. Second, we determine how much it would cost Washington taxpayers to produce the results found in Step 1, and calculate how much it would be worth to people in Washington State to achieve the improved outcome. That is, in dollars and cents terms, we compare the benefits and costs of each policy option. It is important to note that the benefit-cost estimates pertain specifically to Washington State; results will vary from state to state. Third, we assess the risk in the estimates to determine the odds that a particular policy option will at least break even. ...show more

WSIPP acknowledges the MacArthur Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts that have helped fund some of the research reported on this page.

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For details on our benefit-cost methods, contact Michael Hirsch or download our technical documentation.

Latest Results. The tables on this webpage present our current findings for a variety of public policy topics. Items on these tables are updated periodically as new information becomes available. Interested readers can find more information by clicking each entry in the tables.

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Benefit-cost methods last updated December 2019

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Current estimates replace old estimates. Numbers will change over time as a result of model inputs and monetization methods.

Health Care

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For questions on benefit-cost results relating to Health Care, contact Eva Westley.
Obesity and Diabetes
Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review
Total benefits
Taxpayer benefits
Non-taxpayer benefits
Costs
Benefits minus costs (net present value)
Benefit to cost ratio
Chance benefits will exceed costs
Feb. 2017 $29,782 $8,638 $21,144 ($3,925) $25,857 $7.59 100 %
Feb. 2017 $17,891 $5,029 $12,862 ($463) $17,429 $38.66 77 %
Dec. 2014 $1,896 $517 $1,379 ($647) $1,249 $2.93 60 %
Dec. 2014 $664 $166 $499 ($99) $566 $6.73 55 %
Dec. 2014 $23 $14 $9 ($67) ($44) $0.34 49 %
Dec. 2014 $111 $48 $63 ($191) ($81) $0.58 50 %
Dec. 2014 ($32) $13 ($45) ($170) ($202) ($0.19) 45 %
Dec. 2014 ($25) $36 ($61) ($345) ($370) ($0.07) 43 %
Health Care System Efficiency
Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review
Total benefits
Taxpayer benefits
Non-taxpayer benefits
Costs
Benefits minus costs (net present value)
Benefit to cost ratio
Chance benefits will exceed costs
Dec. 2014 $1,901 $838 $1,063 ($434) $1,467 $4.38 66 %
Dec. 2014 $436 $183 $253 ($54) $383 $8.14 64 %
Dec. 2016 $293 $145 $148 ($86) $207 $3.40 49 %
Dec. 2016 $227 $132 $95 ($161) $66 $1.41 42 %
Dec. 2014 $14 $6 $9 ($8) $6 $1.70 49 %
Dec. 2016 $42 $37 $5 ($86) ($44) $0.49 35 %
Dec. 2014 ($3) $11 ($13) ($81) ($84) ($0.04) 46 %
Dec. 2016 $58 $59 ($2) ($161) ($103) $0.36 32 %
Dec. 2014 $8,919 $5,119 $3,800 ($9,946) ($1,028) $0.90 43 %
Maternal and Infant Health
Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review
Total benefits
Taxpayer benefits
Non-taxpayer benefits
Costs
Benefits minus costs (net present value)
Benefit to cost ratio
Chance benefits will exceed costs
Dec. 2016 $12,070 $731 $11,339 ($719) $11,351 $16.78 100 %
Dec. 2016 $10,338 $974 $9,365 ($217) $10,121 $47.61 98 %
Dec. 2016 $6,601 $850 $5,751 ($430) $6,170 $15.35 98 %
Dec. 2016 $2,832 $181 $2,651 $1,138 $3,970 n/a 94 %
Dec. 2016 $3,520 $314 $3,206 ($121) $3,399 $29.21 75 %
Dec. 2016 $3,532 $578 $2,954 ($614) $2,918 $5.75 69 %
Dec. 2016 $3,135 $657 $2,478 ($531) $2,604 $5.90 73 %
Dec. 2016 $2,361 $206 $2,155 ($98) $2,263 $24.04 89 %
Dec. 2016 $2,065 $361 $1,703 ($743) $1,321 $2.78 84 %
Nov. 2015 $295 $208 $86 ($36) $259 $8.27 100 %
Nov. 2015 $279 $0 $279 ($36) $243 $7.83 100 %
Nov. 2015 $178 $128 $50 ($29) $149 $6.23 84 %
Nov. 2015 $167 $0 $167 ($29) $138 $5.85 84 %
Nov. 2015 $153 $129 $24 ($80) $73 $1.91 100 %
Nov. 2015 $142 $0 $142 ($80) $62 $1.78 98 %
Nov. 2015 ($7) $86 ($92) ($270) ($277) ($0.03) 1 %
Nov. 2015 ($15) $0 ($15) ($270) ($285) ($0.05) 1 %
Dec. 2016 ($716) ($222) ($493) ($210) ($925) ($3.41) 47 %
Dec. 2016 ($991) $122 ($1,114) ($191) ($1,182) ($5.19) 36 %
Falls Prevention for Older Adults
Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review
Total benefits
Taxpayer benefits
Non-taxpayer benefits
Costs
Benefits minus costs (net present value)
Benefit to cost ratio
Chance benefits will exceed costs
Jan. 2018 $8,578 $1,174 $7,405 ($1,008) $7,571 $8.51 100 %
Jan. 2018 $6,379 $870 $5,509 ($709) $5,670 $9.00 97 %
Oct. 2017 $3,684 $646 $3,038 ($330) $3,354 $11.15 100 %
Jan. 2018 $3,760 $527 $3,233 ($651) $3,109 $5.77 100 %
Feb. 2018 $3,090 $552 $2,538 ($359) $2,731 $8.61 72 %
Feb. 2018 $2,828 $376 $2,452 ($603) $2,225 $4.69 75 %
Nov. 2017 $1,958 $507 $1,451 ($1,567) $391 $1.25 64 %
Jan. 2018 $699 $161 $537 ($309) $390 $2.26 81 %
Jan. 2018 $716 $149 $566 ($347) $369 $2.06 88 %
Jan. 2018 $569 $126 $442 ($230) $339 $2.48 57 %
Jan. 2018 $553 $136 $416 ($347) $206 $1.59 79 %
Feb. 2018 $180 $48 $131 ($137) $42 $1.31 59 %
Feb. 2018 $293 $84 $209 ($277) $16 $1.06 50 %
Feb. 2018 $273 $79 $195 ($304) ($31) $0.90 41 %
Nov. 2017 $485 $140 $345 ($692) ($207) $0.70 20 %
Oct. 2017 ($75) $1 ($77) ($163) ($239) ($0.46) 16 %
Jan. 2018 ($558) $11 ($569) ($1,213) ($1,771) ($0.46) 23 %
Nov. 2017 ($5,140) ($627) ($4,513) ($583) ($5,723) ($8.82) 0 %
To view details of all Health Care programs in a single pdf, click here.

Other Health Care topics reviewed; benefit-cost results not yet available:

Program name
(click on the program name for more detail)
Date of last literature review Notes
Accountable Care Organizations: (a) Alternative Quality Contract
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Accountable Care Organizations: (b) Medicare Physician Group Practice Demonstration (PGPD)
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Accountable Care Organizations: (c) Medicare Pioneer ACOs
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (a) High-Deductible Health Plans (moderate to high deductibles, with and without HRAs or HSAs), general patient population
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (b) High-Deductible Health Plans (moderate to high deductible levels, with or without HSAs), low-income patient population
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (c) High-Deductible Health Plans with moderate deductibles (individual < $1000), general patient population
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (d) High-Deductible Health Plans with higher deductibles (individual > $1000), general patient population
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (e) High-Deductible Health Plans with higher deductibles (individual > $1000) and HRA accounts, general patient population
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (f) High-Deductible Health Plans with higher deductibles (individual > $1000) and HSA accounts, general patient population
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (g) Coinsurance (25% rate or higher) versus no cost sharing, general patient population
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (h) Copay increases across multiple services, low-income population
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (i) Copay increases across multiple services, low-income and chronically-ill population
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (j) Emergency department copays, general patient population
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (k) Emergency department copays, low-income patient population
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (l) Copays for nonemergent emergency department visits, Medicaid adult population
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (m) Copays for prescription drugs, general patient population
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (n) Copays for prescription drugs, adults with a chronic illness
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (o) Copay reductions for prescription drugs used to treat chronic conditions (Value Based Insurance Design), adults with chronic illnesses
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (p) Copays for prescription drugs, low-income children (CHIP)
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (q) Copays for prescription drugs, low-income children (CHIP) with a chronic illness
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Cost sharing: (r) Copays for prescription drugs, Medicare beneficiaries
Nov. 2015 Click for meta-analytic results
Falls prevention: Individual exercise programs for osteoporosis/osteopenia
Jan. 2018 Click for meta-analytic results
Long-acting reversible contraception (compared to short-acting reversible contraception)
Sep. 2018 Click for meta-analytic results
Oral health: Fluoride varnish treatment for permanent teeth
Oct. 2014 Click for meta-analytic results
Oral health: Fluoride varnish treatment for primary teeth
Oct. 2014 Click for meta-analytic results
Oral health: Resin sealants for molars
Oct. 2014 Click for meta-analytic results
Patient-centered medical homes in integrated health systems (high-risk population)
Dec. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Smoking cessation programs for pregnant women: Postpartum smoking relapse prevention
Dec. 2016 Click for meta-analytic results
Transitional care programs to prevent hospital readmissions: Brief phone follow-up only
Dec. 2014 Click for meta-analytic results
Chronic Care Model (CCM) interventions
Dec. 2016 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Oral health: Mid-level dental care providers
Oct. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Oral health: Preventive dental visits
Oct. 2014 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Prenatal depression screening
Dec. 2016 No rigorous evaluation measuring outcome of interest.
Click to expand