Accounting for the Impact of the Affordable Care Act on Poverty

Project Date:
Mar 2016
Award Amount:
$149,967
Project Programs:
The Social, Economic and Political Effects of the Affordable Care Act

Jointly funded with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) brought a major expansion of the welfare state and promised to reduce poverty by providing health insurance to millions of the uninsured, in particular low-income households. But the standard poverty measures, the Census Bureau’s Official Poverty Measure (OPM) and the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM), cannot show the direct impact of health policies, such as the ACA, on poverty rates. This is both because these measures do not include health care or health insurance as a basic need of the poor and because health insurance is not counted as a resource available to meet those needs.

Sanders Korenman and Dahlia Remler willuse a new measure, which they call the Health Inclusive Poverty Measure (HIPM), to assess the antipoverty impacts of Medicaid, the ACA and employer-based insurance. They have piloted the measure in the context of the 2006 Massachusetts health care reform and find that implementing the HIPM is feasible and that it is a valid measure. The HIPM includes health insurance as a basic need and health insurance benefits as a resource available to meet those needs. The investigators will link ACA exchange plan data to restricted Census data to estimate the impact of the ACA on HIPM poverty rate and poverty gaps overall and for population subgroups.

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