hero image
Melinda  Beeuwkes Buntin - Vanderbilt University. Nashville, TN, US

Melinda Beeuwkes Buntin Melinda  Beeuwkes Buntin

Mike Curb Professor of Health Policy | Vanderbilt University


Expert in health policy, particularly insurance and health care financing issues.






Signal or Noise? Navigating Health Care Policy – Part 2 The Future of Health Insurance: DC Health Summit Health Policy in the Vanderbilt University Strategic Plan



Melinda Buntin, is the chair of the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. She previously served as Deputy Assistant Director for Health at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), where she was responsible for managing and directing studies of health care and health care financing issues in the Health, Retirement, and Long-term analysis Division.

Prior to joining CBO, Buntin worked at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, where she established and directed the economic analysis, evaluation, and modeling group, while on leave from RAND. At RAND, Buntin served as deputy director of RAND Health’s Economics, Financing, and Organization Program, director of Public Sector Initiatives for RAND Health, and co-director of the Bing Center for Health Economics. Her research at RAND focused on insurance benefit design, health insurance markets, provider payment, and the care use and needs of the elderly.

She has an A.B. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton and a Ph.D. in Health Policy with a concentration in economics from Harvard University.

Areas of Expertise (7)

State and Local Health Policy

Payment Reform


Health Economics

Health Care Spending



Education (2)

Harvard University: Ph.D., Health Policy 2000

Princeton University: A.B., Public and International Affairs 1993

Affiliations (5)

  • National Academy of Medicine
  • National Academy of Social Insurance
  • American Society of Health Economists
  • International Health Economics Association
  • Academy Health

Selected Media Appearances (8)

Potential hurdles ahead for Biden’s COVID-19 testing reimbursement plan

Marketplace  online


Melinda J. Buntin, professor and chair of Vanderbilt University’s department of health policy, said that, ideally, at-home tests should be supplemented with targeted testing. If there was an outbreak in a certain region, Buntin said, she’d like to see public health officials mobilize and make rapid tests available in that area.

view more

Tennessee proposes Medicaid block grant funding

WSMV  tv


Changes could be on the way for Tennessee's Medicaid program.

view more

Health Care Vitals: Nashville

Axios  online


Dr. Melinda Buntin, Chair of the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine on those who neither have the money for large care expenses nor qualify for free or low-income clinics: "The middle class has extraordinarily expensive care...and [they're] doing things on a shoestring."

view more

‘If You Like Your Plan, You Can Keep It.’ Biden’s Invokes Obama’s Troubled Claim.

Kaiser Health News  online


Biden’s proposal wouldn’t necessarily force insurers to cancel plans, said Melinda Buntin, health policy chair at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. But don’t expect the companies that buy insurance to sit still. “Employers — especially small businesses with lower-income workers — might choose to drop coverage if their employees would qualify for the public plan with more generous subsidies,” Buntin said.

view more

Obamacare fight obscures America’s real health care crisis: Money

Politico  online


Drug costs and surprise bills, which patients have to pay directly, “have been a way the public glimpses true health care costs,” said Melinda Buntin, chair of the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “That information about how high these bills and these charges can be has raised awareness of health care costs — but it has people focused only on that part of the solution.”

view more

Industry battles Medicare for All traction

Modern Healthcare  online


The study predicted hospitals would resort to eliminating 1.5 million clinical and administrative jobs. That loss could make it harder for patients to get care. “Not only would they make less money, but they would really have to restructure the way they deliver care, and that would mean a big disruption to the industry. On average across the industry, about 70% of costs are labor, so you are talking about a lot of people’s jobs when you restructure costs,” said Melinda Buntin, chair of the health policy department at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, who was not affiliated with the study.

view more

Vanderbilt Researchers to Study Needs of Vulnerable Children

Associated Press  online


Vanderbilt University is getting a $1.25 million grant to research the needs of some of Tennessee’s most vulnerable children. According to the school, the Policies for Action Research Hub at Vanderbilt will develop recommendations for helping the children of immigrant families and children with prenatal exposure to opioids. Melinda Buntin is chair of the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and one of two principal investigators leading the hub. She said the choice of research topics was driven by some troubling statistics.

view more

You'll be shocked at how much health insurance costs for a family of four

USA Today  online


“The Milliman Medical Index is great because it gives you a snapshot of what people covered by employer-sponsored insurance get and what that coverage costs,” said Melinda Beeuwkes Buntin, a professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The index also estimates deductibles and other out-of-pocket expenses.

view more

Selected Articles (3)

A Survey of Charge Sensitivity and Charge Awareness Among Intensive Care Unit Providers in a Large Academic Medical Center

Anesthesia & Analgesia

Adam J Kingeter, Matthew S Shotwell, C Lee Parmley, Pratik P Pandharipande, Melinda B Buntin

2019 "A 10-question multiple-choice survey was developed as part of the ICU Physician Awareness of the ICU Charge Environment (ICU-PRICE) study (NCT02476591), which was approved by the institutional review board, and the requirement for written informed consent was waived. The survey was sent before the implementation of the ICU-PRICE study intervention."

view more

High-Deductible Health Plans and Prevention

Annual review of public health

Olena Mazurenko, Melinda JB Buntin, Nir Menachemi

2019 "High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) are becoming more popular owing to their potential to curb rising health care costs. Relative to traditional health insurance plans, HDHPs involve higher out-of-pocket costs for consumers, which have been associated with lower utilization of health services."

view more

Geographic variation in the delivery of high-value inpatient care

PloS one

John Romley, Erin Trish, Dana Goldman, Melinda Beeuwkes Buntin, Yulei He, Paul Ginsburg

2019 "Objectives To measure value in the delivery of inpatient care and to quantify its variation across U.S. regions. Data sources / Study setting A random (20%) sample of 33,713 elderly fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries treated in 2,232 hospitals for a heart attack in 2013."

view more