October 12, 2016

WE'LL REFORM IT, NOT REPEAL IT:

Love it or hate it, Obamacare has expanded coverage for millions (Jim Marton & Charles Courtemanche, 10/11/16, The Conversation)

One aim of the law was to expand coverage to the very poor. That was to be done by expanding Medicaid, a joint federal-state insurance program for the poor and disabled. Medicaid is generally funded by the federal government with matching grants to the states, which administer the plan.

Under the ACA, the federal government offered money to states to expand Medicaid to those at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty line. The expansion became politicized, however, and many states chose to forgo the federal money and not expand. As of today, 19 states have not expanded Medicaid. As a result, about three million poor people  across the country did not gain the coverage that the law originally intended.

Even so, several studies have since documented large gains in insurance coverage between 2013 and 2014 for other groups of uninsured people. One natural question is: How much of these gains in coverage came from the ACA? Could the higher number of insured people have come from other factors, notably a better economy?

In a recently released National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, we use data from the American Community Survey (ACS) to answer this question. We find that the ACA led to a 5.9 percentage point gain in insurance coverage in Medicaid expansion states and a 3.0 percentage point gain in coverage in nonexpansion states.

Posted by at October 12, 2016 6:16 PM

  

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