The Medicaid Expansion and Attitudes toward the Affordable Care Act: Testing for a Policy Feedback on Mass Opinion
18 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2017 Last revised: 26 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 26, 2018
Enacted in 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has reshaped U.S. health policy. Yet overall opinions on the law remained relatively stable during the few years before and after enactment. In a polarized era, can the implementation of a complex program such as the ACA influence public opinion through a policy feedback? Research on policy feedbacks and self-interest provide competing expectations. To address that question, we consider the impact of the Medicaid expansion which took place in select states. Using differences-in-differences estimation and 2010-2017 surveys of more than 51,000 non-elderly American adults, we show that the Medicaid expansion made low-income Americans on average 4.4 percentage points more favorable toward the ACA (SD=1.7) relative to those in non-expansion states. Given that we find no such effect for high-income respondents, these results are consistent with an impact via self-interest and with a policy feedback on public opinion.
Keywords: Public Opinion, Policy Feedbacks, Health Policy, Affordable Care Act
JEL Classification: H51, I13, H00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation