Did Obamacare Implementation Cost Clinton the 2016 Election?
46 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2017 Last revised: 18 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 17, 2018
We combine administrative records from the federal health care exchange with aggregate- and individual-level data on vote choice in the 2016 election. We show that personal experiences with the Affordable Care Act informed voting behavior and that these effects could have altered the election outcome in pivotal states, suggesting that Republican efforts to undermine the law's implementation paid tangible political dividends. We also offer evidence that consumers purchasing coverage through the exchange were sensitive to premium price hikes publicized shortly before the election -- despite most receiving a federal tax credit that shielded them from the increases. We attribute this to the design of the HealthCare.gov website, which reduced the salience of federal subsidies and likely made consumers needlessly sensitive to media coverage focusing on rising premiums. Placebo tests using survey responses collected before the premium information became public suggest that these relationships are indeed causal.
Keywords: 2016 Presidential Election, Obamacare, Affordable Care Act, Policy Feedback, Retrospective Voting, Health Policy
JEL Classification: I13, I18, H50, H51, H70, H77
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation