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Health Care Financing over the Life Cycle, Universal Medical Vouchers and Welfare

Author

Listed:
  • Juergen Jung

    () (Department of Economics, Towson University)

  • Chung Tran

    () (School of Economics, University of New South Wales)

Abstract

In this paper we develop a general equilibrium overlapping generations (OLG) model with health shocks to analyze the life-cycle pattern of insurance choice and health care spending. We use data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) and show that our model is able to match the life-cycle trends of insurance take up ratios and average medical expenditures in the U.S. We then demonstrate how this model can be used to conduct health care policy analysis by evaluating the macroeconomic effects of a counter factual health care reform using a system of universal health insurance vouchers. Our results suggest that health insurance vouchers are able to extend insurance coverage to the entire population but they also increase aggregate spending on health. More importantly, we find that the positive insurance effect (efficient risk pooling) dominates the negative incentive effect (tax distortions and moral hazard) which results in significant welfare gains for all generations when a payroll tax is used to finance the voucher program. In addition, our results suggest that the choice of tax financing instrument and accounting for general equilibrium price adjustments are critical in determining the performance of the voucher program.

Suggested Citation

  • Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2009. "Health Care Financing over the Life Cycle, Universal Medical Vouchers and Welfare," Discussion Papers 2009-12, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
  • Handle: RePEc:swe:wpaper:2009-12
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    File URL: http://research.economics.unsw.edu.au/RePEc/papers/2009-12.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Harold L. Cole & Soojin Kim & Dirk Krueger, 2012. "Analyzing the Effects of Insuring Health Risks: On the Trade-off between Short Run Insurance Benefits vs. Long Run Incentive Costs," NBER Working Papers 18572, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2016. "Market Inefficiency, Insurance Mandate and Welfare: U.S. Health Care Reform 2010," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 20, pages 132-159, April.
    3. Pashchenko, Svetlana & Porapakkarm, Ponpoje, 2010. "Quantitative Analysis of Health Insurance Reform: Separating Community Rating from Income Redistribution," MPRA Paper 26158, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2008. "The Macroeconomics of Health Savings Accounts," Caepr Working Papers 2007-023, Center for Applied Economics and Policy Research, Economics Department, Indiana University Bloomington.
    5. Martin Dumav, 2013. "Health Insurance over the Life Cycle with Adverse Selection," 2013 Meeting Papers 1138, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2016. "Market Inefficiency, Insurance Mandate and Welfare: U.S. Health Care Reform 2010," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 20, pages 132-159, April.
    7. Shantanu Bagchi & James Feigenbaum, 2014. "Is Smoking a Fiscal Good?," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 17(1), pages 170-190, January.
    8. Lim Kyoung Mook, 2016. "Public provision of health insurance and welfare," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 16(2), pages 439-483, June.
    9. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2014. "Medical consumption over the life-cycle," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 47(3), pages 927-957, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Public health insurance; private health insurance; vouchers; dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model; endogenous health production;

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs

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