Obamacare Implementation and the 2016 Election

66 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2017 Last revised: 8 Feb 2019

See all articles by Vladimir Kogan

Vladimir Kogan

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Political Science

Thomas Wood

Ohio State University (OSU)

Date Written: February 6, 2019


We combine administrative records from the federal health insurance exchange with aggregate- and individual-level voting data to examine how health care reform affected the 2016 election. Overall, we find that personal experiences with the Affordable Care Act influenced voting decisions and conceivably altered the presidential election outcome in pivotal states, suggesting that Republican efforts to undermine the law's implementation paid tangible political dividends. We also show that voters purchasing coverage through the exchange responded to premium price hikes publicized shortly before the election -- despite most receiving a tax credit that largely shielded them from the increases. We hypothesize that the exchange website's design and information in renewal letters sent by insurers reduced the salience of federal subsidies and made consumers needlessly sensitive to the "sticker prices" of health insurance. Survey responses collected before the premiums became public provide additional evidence that the premium effects 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

Kogan, Vladimir and Wood, Thomas, Obamacare Implementation and the 2016 Election (February 6, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3075406 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3075406

Vladimir Kogan (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Thomas Wood

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

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