Guessing the health effects of Obamacare
March 14, 2012 10:44 AM Subscribe
posted by scunning (24 comments total)
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A new working paper
by economists Charles Courtemanche (University of Louisville) and Daniela Zapata (UNC-Greensboro) shows that Massachusetts 2006 uniform healthcare coverage caused improvements for numerous health outcomes
. To the degree that the Massachusetts experiment is a guide for the federal Affordable Care Act, this study provides some guidance for guessing which individuals and approximately how much the benefits of the program will be.
Does Universal Coverage Improve Health? The Massachusetts Experience
Charles J. Courtemanche, Daniela Zapata
NBER Working Paper No. 17893
Issued in March 2012
- In 2006, Massachusetts passed health care reform legislation designed to achieve nearly universal coverage through a combination of insurance market reforms, mandates, and subsidies that later served as the model for national health care reform. Using individual-level data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, we provide evidence that health care reform in Massachusetts led to better overall self-assessed health. An assortment of robustness checks and placebo tests support a causal interpretation of the results. We also document improvements in several determinants of overall health, including physical health, mental health, functional limitations, joint disorders, body mass index, and moderate physical activity. The health effects were strongest among women, minorities, near-elderly adults, and those with incomes low enough to qualify for the law’s subsidies. Finally, we use the reform to instrument for health insurance and estimate a sizeable impact of coverage on health. The effects on coverage were strongest for men, non-black minorities, young adults, and those who qualified for the subsidies, while the effects of coverage were strongest for women, blacks, the near-elderly, and middle-to-upper income individuals.