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The Affordable Care Act's Effects on Patients, Providers and the Economy: What We've Learned So Far

Jonathan Gruber, Benjamin D. Sommers

NBER Working Paper No. 25932
Issued in June 2019
NBER Program(s):The Program on Aging, The Program on Children, The Health Care Program, The Health Economics Program, The Labor Studies Program, The Public Economics Program

As we approach the tenth anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, it is important to reflect on what has been learned about the impacts of this major reform. In this paper we review the literature on the impacts of the ACA on patients, providers and the economy. We find strong evidence that the ACA’s provisions have increased insurance coverage. There is also a clearly positive effect on access to and consumption of health care, with suggestive but more limited evidence on improved health outcomes. There is no evidence of significant reductions in provider access, changes in labor supply, or increased budgetary pressures on state governments, and the law’s total federal cost through 2018 has been less than predicted. We conclude by describing key policy implications and future areas for research.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25932

Published: Jonathan Gruber & Benjamin D. Sommers, 2019. "THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT'S EFFECTS ON PATIENTS, PROVIDERS, AND THE ECONOMY: WHAT WE'VE LEARNED SO FAR," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, vol 38(4), pages 1028-1052.

 
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