Does Universal Coverage Improve Health? The Massachusetts Experience

Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Research Paper Series No. 12-19

W. J. Usery Workplace Research Group Working Paper No. 2012-7-3

57 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2012

See all articles by Charles Courtemanche

Charles Courtemanche

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

Daniela Zapata

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Greensboro - Department of Economics

Date Written: July 1, 2012

Abstract

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. Several 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 low incomes. Finally, we use the reform to instrument for health insurance and estimate a sizeable impact of coverage on health.

Keywords: Massachusetts, health care reform, universal coverage, health insurance, health, self-assessed health, self-reported health

JEL Classification: I12, I13, I18

Suggested Citation

Courtemanche, Charles and Zapata, Daniela, Does Universal Coverage Improve Health? The Massachusetts Experience (July 1, 2012). Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Research Paper Series No. 12-19, W. J. Usery Workplace Research Group Working Paper No. 2012-7-3, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2139061 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2139061

Charles Courtemanche (Contact Author)

Georgia State University - Andrew Young School of Policy Studies ( email )

P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States
404-413-0082 (Phone)

Daniela Zapata

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Greensboro - Department of Economics ( email )

Greensboro, NC 27402-6165
United States

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