The Medicaid expansion policy that was introduced during the Obama administration has been a political point of controversy. The expansion aimed to increase health insurance coverage for those who are unable to afford health insurance for themselves.
This analysis aimed to determine the economic effect of the Medicaid expansion on real GDP per capita. The expansion is believed to result in greater worker productivity and increases in healthcare service consumption and consumption of other goods. As health insurance coverage may increase real GDP per capita due to healthier workers being more productive, an analysis was first done on the effect of the expansion on health insurance coverage, then the effect of the health insurance coverage on real GDP per capita. The data used was in the time frame of 1999 to 2016 and organized by state, and gathered from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the U.S Census Bureau, the Kaiser Family Foundation, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The analysis was structured as a 2-stage multivariable linear regression. These regressions were modeled as a fixed-effects regression so states may be compared to itself over time. The first regression was of health insurance coverage on proportions of industry output from the agriculture, resources, manufacturing, and finance sector, median income, employment rate, poverty rate, Medicaid expansion status, and year. The predicted values of this regression were then used as an instrumental variable in the second regression. The second regression was of real GDP per capita on proportions of industry output from the agriculture, resources, manufacturing, and finance sector, median income, employment rate, poverty rate, the instrumental variable, and year. Regressions were also done on the expansion’s effect on per capita personal consumption expenditures and healthcare consumption expenditures using the instrumental variable.
The results of the regressions show that the expansion had a positive effect on health insurance coverage and real GDP per capita. It also increased personal expenditures per capita and healthcare expenditures per capita, suggesting that the lower price of healthcare results in increased overall consumption. The data was constrained by time, as the expansion was only implemented recently, and some states are still deciding whether or not to. Thus, the results of support expectations, but more time would need to pass to more accurately estimate the effects of the expansion on these states.