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Covering the Uninsured in the United States

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  • Jonathan Gruber

Abstract

One of the major social policy issues facing the United States in the first decade of the twenty-first century is the large number of Americans lacking health insurance. This article surveys the major economic issues around covering the uninsured. I review the facts on insurance coverage and the nature of the uninsured; explore explanations for why the United States has such a large, and growing, uninsured population; and discuss why we should care if individuals are uninsured. I then examine policy options to address the problem of the uninsured, beginning with a discussion of the key issues and available evidence and then turning to estimates from a micro-simulation model of the impact of alternative interventions to increase insurance coverage.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan Gruber, 2008. "Covering the Uninsured in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(3), pages 571-606, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:46:y:2008:i:3:p:571-606
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.46.3.571
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Manning, Willard G, et al, 1987. "Health Insurance and the Demand for Medical Care: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 251-277, June.
    2. Gruber, Jonathan & Lettau, Michael, 2004. "How elastic is the firm's demand for health insurance?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(7-8), pages 1273-1293, July.
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    8. Gruber, Jonathan & Rodriguez, David, 2007. "How much uncompensated care do doctors provide?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(6), pages 1151-1169, December.
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    15. Brigitte C. Madrian, 1994. "Employment-Based Health Insurance and Job Mobility: Is there Evidence of Job-Lock?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(1), pages 27-54.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gilad Sorek & David Benjamin, 2016. "Health insurance mandates in a model with consumer bankruptcy," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 233-250, October.
    2. Jaffe, Sonia & Shepard, Mark, 2017. "Price-Linked Subsidies and Health Insurance Markups," Working Paper Series rwp17-002, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    3. Daniel McFadden & Carlos Noton & Pau Olivella, "undated". "Remedies for Sick Insurance," Working Papers 620, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    4. Freedman, Seth & Lin, Haizhen & Simon, Kosali, 2015. "Public health insurance expansions and hospital technology adoption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 121(C), pages 117-131.
    5. David Laibson, 1997. "Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(2), pages 443-478.
    6. Gruber, Jonathan, 2011. "The Impacts of the Affordable Care Act: How Reasonable Are the Projections?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 64(3), pages 893-908, September.
    7. Heiss, Florian & Leive, Adam & McFadden, Daniel & Winter, Joachim, 2013. "Plan selection in Medicare Part D: Evidence from administrative data," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(6), pages 1325-1344.
    8. Neale Mahoney, 2012. "Bankruptcy as Implicit Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 18105, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Zhao, Kai, 2015. "The impact of the correlation between health expenditure and survival probability on the demand for insurance," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 98-111.
    10. repec:eee:jhecon:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:72-86 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Ines Läufer, 2014. "Another perspective on the high uninsured-rate in the USA: Crowding out of long term health insurance by the institutional setting of the U.S. health insurance system," Otto-Wolff-Institut Discussion Paper Series 02/2014, Otto-Wolff-Institut für Wirtschaftsordnung, Köln, Deutschland.
    12. Benedek, Dóra & Kiss, Áron, 2011. "Mikroszimulációs elemzés a személyi jövedelemadó módosításainak hatásvizsgálatában
      [Micro-simulation analysis in examination of the effects of personal income-tax changes]
      ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(2), pages 97-110.
    13. H. Peters & Kosali Simon & Jamie Taber, 2014. "Marital Disruption and Health Insurance," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 51(4), pages 1397-1421, August.
    14. Molly Frean & Jonathan Gruber & Benjamin D. Sommers, 2016. "Premium Subsidies, the Mandate, and Medicaid Expansion: Coverage Effects of the Affordable Care Act," NBER Working Papers 22213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Jonathan Gruber, 2011. "The Impacts of the Affordable Care Act: How Reasonable Are the Projections?," NBER Working Papers 17168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Yannelis, Constantine & Sun, Stephen Teng, 2013. "The Real Effects of the Uninsured on Premia," MPRA Paper 48264, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Datta, Anusua & Vandegrift, Donald, 2011. "Effects of welfare reform and the state children’s health insurance program on medicaid and total health expenditures," MPRA Paper 36486, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Zhao, Kai, 2017. "Social insurance, private health insurance and individual welfare," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 102-117.
    19. Sun, Stephen Teng & Yannelis, Constantine, 2013. "Quantifying the Premium Externality of the Uninsured," MPRA Paper 54638, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Alejandro Arrieta & Ariadna García Prado & Giota Panopoulou, 2012. "Enrolling the Self-Employed in Mandatory Health Insurance in Colombia: are we missing other factors?," Documentos de Trabajo - Lan Gaiak Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra 1213, Departamento de Economía - Universidad Pública de Navarra.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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