Monday, March 12, 2012

The Effects of Health Care Reform

Does Universal Coverage Improve Health? The Massachusetts Experience
Charles J. Courtemanche and Daniela Zapata

NBER Working Paper No. 17893
March 2012

JEL No. I12,I13,I18


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.


Liam Delaney said...

Mitt Romney will be so pleased.

Mark McGovern said...

Clearly this provides even more reasons to repeal an almost identical law applying to all states. Especially if you were the one to implement the original...