Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

10-12-2016

Abstract

While there is a clear relationship between better health and better economic outcomes, the effects of increasing health insurance on the economy remain understudied. We employ two datasets, one on health insurance coverage in the contiguous 48 U.S. states and one for countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, to model the effect of expanding health insurance on state and country economic and employment growth over the last two decades. We find that increased health insurance coverage of the working age population, especially through government programs like Medicaid, is associated with faster gross domestic product and employment growth. However, we also find that these results may be contingent on controlling the per-enrollee cost of these programs. These findings are informative for future health insurance reforms both federally and in the U.S. states.

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