Benjamin D. Sommers
Harvard T.H. Chan School of
Department of Health Policy
677 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
Institutional Affiliation: Harvard University
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|March 2020||Fiscal Federalism and the Budget Impacts of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid Expansion|
with Jonathan Gruber: w26862
Medicaid’s federal-state matching system of financing is the nation’s largest example of fiscal federalism. Using generous federal subsidies, the Affordable Care Act incentivized states to expand Medicaid, which became a state option in the aftermath of a 2012 Supreme Court ruling. As of early 2020, 14 states had not yet expanded, with concerns over state budgetary effects described as a key barrier. We use an event-study approach to analyze state budget data from 2010-2018 and assess the effects of state Medicaid expansion decisions. We find that Medicaid expansion increased total spending in expansion states by 6% to 9%, compared to non-expansion states. By source of funds, federal spending via the states increased by 10% in the first year of Medicaid expansion, rising to 27% in 2018...
|June 2019||The Affordable Care Act’s Effects on Patients, Providers and the Economy: What We’ve Learned So Far|
with Jonathan Gruber: w25932
As we approach the tenth anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, it is important to reflect on what has been learned about the impacts of this major reform. In this paper we review the literature on the impacts of the ACA on patients, providers and the economy. We find strong evidence that the ACA’s provisions have increased insurance coverage. There is also a clearly positive effect on access to and consumption of health care, with suggestive but more limited evidence on improved health outcomes. There is no evidence of significant reductions in provider access, changes in labor supply, or increased budgetary pressures on state governments, and the law’s total federal cost through 2018 has been less than predicted. We conclude by describing key policy implications and fu...
Published: Jonathan Gruber & Benjamin D. Sommers, 2019. "THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT'S EFFECTS ON PATIENTS, PROVIDERS, AND THE ECONOMY: WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SO FAR," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol 38(4), pages 1028-1052.
|January 2017||The Effect of State Medicaid Expansions on Prescription Drug Use: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act|
with Ausmita Ghosh, Kosali Simon: w23044
This study provides a national analysis of how the 2014 Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansions have affected aggregate prescription drug utilization. Given the prominent role of prescription medications in the management of chronic conditions, as well as the high prevalence of unmet health care needs in the population newly eligible for Medicaid, the use of prescription drugs represents an important measure of the ACA’s policy impact. Prescription drug utilization also provides insights into whether insurance expansions have increased access to physicians, since obtaining these medications requires interaction with a health care provider. We use 2013-2015 data from a large, nationally representative, all-payer pharmacy transactions database to examine effects on overall prescription...
|April 2016||Premium Subsidies, the Mandate, and Medicaid Expansion: Coverage Effects of the Affordable Care Act|
with Molly Frean, Jonathan Gruber: w22213
Using premium subsidies for private coverage, an individual mandate, and Medicaid expansion, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has increased insurance coverage. We provide the first comprehensive assessment of these provisions’ effects, using the 2012-2015 American Community Survey and a triple-difference estimation strategy that exploits variation by income, geography, and time. Overall, our model explains 60% of the coverage gains in 2014-2015. We find that coverage was moderately responsive to price subsidies, with larger gains in state-based insurance exchanges than the federal exchange. The individual mandate’s exemptions and penalties had little impact on coverage rates. The law increased Medicaid among individuals gaining eligibility under the ACA and among previously-eligible populatio...
Published: Molly Frean & Jonathan Gruber & Benjamin D. Sommers, 2017. "Premium subsidies, the mandate, and Medicaid expansion: Coverage effects of the Affordable Care Act," Journal of Health Economics, vol 53, pages 72-86. citation courtesy of