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Aging and Health Financing in the US:A General Equilibrium Analysis

Listed author(s):
  • Juergen Jung
  • Chung Tran
  • Matthew Chambers

We quantify the effects of population aging on the US healthcare system. Our analysis is based on a stochastic general equilibrium overlapping generations model of endogenous health accumulation calibrated to match pre-2010 U.S. data. We find that population aging not only leads to large increases in medical spending but also a large shift in the relative size of public vs. private insurance. Without the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aging itself leads to a 36:6 percent increase in health expenditures by 2060 and a 5 percent increase in GDP which is driven by the expansion of the healthcare sector. The group-based health insurance (GHI) market shrinks, while the individual-based health insurance (IHI) market and Medicaid expand significantly. Additional funds equivalent to roughly 4 percent of GDP are required to finance Medicare in 2060 as the elderly dependency ratio increases. The introduction of the ACA increases the fraction of insured workers to 99 percent by 2060, compared to 81 percent without the ACA. This additional increase is mainly driven by the further expansion of Medicaid and the IHI market and the stabilization of the GHI market. Interestingly, the ACA reduces aggregate health care spending by enrolling uninsured workers into Medicaid which pays lower prices for medical services. Overall, the ACA adds to the fiscal cost of population aging mainly via the Medicare and Medicaid expansion.

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File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/econ/wp641.pdf
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Paper provided by Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics in its series ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics with number 2016-641.

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Date of creation: Jul 2016
Handle: RePEc:acb:cbeeco:2016-641
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