CPRC Seminar - Jan 31

Columbia Population Research Center

is pleased to invite you to: 

Has Wider Availability of Prescription Drugs for Pain Relief Affected SSDI and SSI Enrollment?"

presented by Ellen Meara

Professor at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice

Dartmouth College


Thursday, January 31, 2019

11:45pm - 12:45pm

Room 532a/532B

Mailman School of Public Health

722 West 168th Street



Videoconference is available at:

Columbia University School of Social Work, room 1109

1255 Amsterdam Avenue


Registration required at https://cupop.formstack.com/forms/rsvp_spring

Lunch will be provided for those who RSVP to attend at the Mailman School of Public Health.



Motivated by a large and growing share of people who receive disability insurance for pain-related conditions, and the growing availability of prescription opioids compared with historical standards, we examine how expanded availability of opioid medication has affected enrollment in the SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. We use two types of analysis, both relying on differences in the availability of opioid medications across areas (states or commuting zones) over time. The first analysis is aggregate: we examine the relationship between area-level changes in the availability of opioid medications from 2001-2015 and federal disability applications. We distinguish trends prior to 2010, when prescribing was rising in virtually all areas, from opioid prescribing after 2010, when some areas experienced a continued rise in prescription opioid availability just as other areas experienced abrupt declines. We complement this with individual data from the Health and Retirement Study.


Ellen Meara is a health economist known for her work modeling the effects of public policies and regulations on health care utilization, overall health, and economic outcomes. Her research often focuses on the impact of public policies and regulations on publicly insured populations in Medicare and Medicaid. Meara looks closely at the economic impact of changes to insurance coverage, payment strategies, and the implementation of care delivery innovations. Much of this work focuses on disabled populations, including people with mental illness and substance disorders. She has extensive experience tracking trends in medical spending over time and for different populations. 

For additional information regarding the Spring 2019 CPRC Seminar Series please visit: http://cupop.columbia.edu/events/seminar-series/cprc-seminars