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When Social Assistance Meets Market Power: A Mixed Duopoly View of Health Insurance in the United States

Author

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  • Ranasinghe, Ashantha

    (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)

  • Su, Xuejuan

    (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)

Abstract

We develop a mixed duopoly model with quality-differentiated products. The public firm offers its product for free to eligible individuals, while the private firm chooses its product quality and price to maximize profit. We calibrate the model to health insurance for the U.S. working-age population, with Medicaid being the public firm. We examine distributional implications of policies that expand Medicaid to various degrees. Despite potentially significant inefficiency of Medicaid, its expansion is welfare improving. Central to these findings is the significant market power of the private firm when left unchecked, which is increasingly disciplined as more individuals become Medicaid eligible.

Suggested Citation

  • Ranasinghe, Ashantha & Su, Xuejuan, 2021. "When Social Assistance Meets Market Power: A Mixed Duopoly View of Health Insurance in the United States," Working Papers 2021-1, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 18 May 2022.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:albaec:2021_001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    mixed duopoly; quality differentiation; public provision of private goods; distribution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H42 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Private Goods
    • H44 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Publicly Provided Goods: Mixed Markets
    • I10 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - General
    • L38 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Public Policy

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