Bush School Professor Receives Prestigious NIHCM Award

June 05, 2015

Laura Dague

Dr. Laura Dague, assistant professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, has been recognized with an award from the National Institute for Health Care Management (NIHCM) for her study on the effect of premiums on Medicaid enrollment.  The NIHCM awards program recognizes researchers and journalists who serve as catalysts for positive change by advancing and informing public and private policy making.

Dague was honored in the research category, and is one of six honorees in the 2015 competition which had over 500 entries. Other awards honored contributions in print and digital media and radio and television. The winners were honored at NIHCM’s 21st Annual Awards Dinner on June 1st in Washington, DC. A list of other honorees and finalists can be found at

The research that won the award demonstrated that charging even modest premiums for Medicaid can cause people to drop their coverage. Citing a strong investigation of a “key policy question,” the judges said it could help inform state decisions on alternative approaches to Medicaid expansion. The paper, “The Effect of Medicaid Premiums on Enrollment: A Regression Discontinuity Approach,” was published in the Journal of Health Economics in 2014.

These annual awards are judged by panels of noted journalists and researchers. In announcing the 2015 awards, NIHCM President and CEO Nancy Chockley noted that NIHCM’s mission is to provoke new thinking and new ideas.

“These awards recognize the tremendous contributions made by those in the fields of health care journalism and research who bring these new ideas to light and communicate them to the public,” Chockley said.

Dr. Dague, an assistant professor in the MPSA program, earned a PhD in economics from the University of Wisconsin, where she was affiliated with the Population Health Institute and the Institute for Research on Poverty. Her doctoral fields of study were public economics and labor economics.

“I’m very grateful to the NIHCM Foundation and to the judges for choosing to recognize my work with this award.  I hope to continue to contribute by focusing on research questions that, once understood, can help policymakers improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Medicaid, a program that affects millions of Americans, said Dague.


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