Health care financing over the life cycle, universal medical vouchers and welfare
Links to Fileshttps://ideas.repec.org/p/tow/wpaper/2010-03.html
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Type of Workapplication/pdf
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Economics
Citation of Original PublicationJuergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2010. "Health Care Financing over the Life Cycle, Universal Medical Vouchers and Welfare," Working Papers 2010-03, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2010.
SubjectsPublic health insurance
Private health insurance
Dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model
Endogenous health production
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.