Image of Melinda Beeuwkes Buntin

Melinda Beeuwkes Buntin

Mike Curb Professor of Health Policy

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


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.

Media Appearances

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

    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.

    December 13th, 2021

  • Tennessee proposes Medicaid block grant funding

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

    September 24th, 2019

  • Health Care Vitals: Nashville

    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."

    August 26th, 2019

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

    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.

    July 30th, 2019

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

    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.”

    April 3rd, 2019

  • Industry battles Medicare for All traction

    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.

    April 27th, 2019

  • Vanderbilt Researchers to Study Needs of Vulnerable Children

    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.

    November 19th, 2018

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

    “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.

    June 6th, 2018


Ph.D., Harvard University

A.B., Princeton University


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