Mattan C. Alalouf
University of Michigan
Institutional Affiliation: University of Michigan
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|October 2019||What Difference Does a Diagnosis Make? Evidence from Marginal Patients|
with Sarah Miller, Laura R. Wherry: w26363
Over the past 30 years, the criteria used to diagnose many illnesses have been relaxed, resulting in millions more relatively healthy individuals receiving treatment. This paper explores the impact of receiving a diagnosis of a common disease among such “marginally ill” patients. We apply a regression discontinuity design to the cutoff in blood sugar levels used to classify patients as having diabetes. We find that a marginally diagnosed patient with diabetes spends $1,097 more on drugs and diabetes-related care annually after diagnosis, but find no corresponding changes in self-reported health or healthy behaviors. These increases in spending persist over the 6-year period we observe the patients. These marginally diagnosed patients experience improved blood sugar after the first year of...