U.S. health care reform 2010

Juergen Jung and Chung Tran

Market inefficiency, insurance mandate and welfare: U.S. health care reform 2010

Review of Economic Dynamics

We quantify the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) using a stochastic general equilibrium overlapping generations model with endogenous health capital accumulation calibrated to match U.S. data on health spending and insurance take-up over the lifecycle.

We find that the introduction of an insurance mandate and the expansion of Medicaid which are at the core of the ACA increase the insurance take-up rate of workers to almost universal coverage but decrease capital accumulation, labor supply and aggregate output.

Penalties for not having insurance as well as subsidies to assist low income individuals’ purchase of insurance via health insurance market places do reduce the adverse selection problem in private health insurance markets and do counteract the crowding-out effect of the Medicaid expansion.

The redistributional measures embedded in the ACA result in welfare gains for low income individuals in poor health and welfare losses for high income individuals in good health. The overall welfare effect depends on the size of the ex-post moral hazard effect, tax distortions and general equilibrium price adjustments.

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