SBEE Lecture Series: Helen Levy

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Ross School of Business (R1220)

The Social, Behavioral and Experimental Economics lecture series is sponsored by the School of Information, the Ross School of Business and the Department of Economics. Speakers from U.S. and international universities present their research at weekly seminars during the 2017-2018 academic year.

The Economic Impact of Medicaid Expansion in Michigan


Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has both costs and benefits for states. The net impact of expansion on a state’s economy is a central concern for policymakers debating whether or not to implement this provision of the Affordable Care Act, particularly as states are required to bear an increasing share of the program’s cost. We discuss methods for estimating the state-level economic impact of Medicaid expansion, distinguishing between static analyses that do not take macroeconomic feedback effects into account and dynamic analyses that do.

Using Michigan as an example, we illustrate one dynamic method for calculating state-level economic impact. We find that Medicaid expansion in Michigan yields clear economic benefits for the state, in the form of savings on other non-Medicaid health programs and increases in revenue from provider taxes and broad-based sales and income taxes through at least 2021; these benefits exceed the state’s costs in every year, putting Michigan’s Medicaid expansion solidly in the black. While these results are specific to Michigan’s budget and economy; our methods could in principle be applied in any state where policymakers seek rigorous evidence on the economic impact of Medicaid expansion.

About the speaker 

Helen Levy is a Research Professor at the Ford School as well as at Institute for Social Research and the Department of Health Policy in the School of Public Health. She is a Co-Investigator on the Health and Retirement Study, a long-running longitudinal study of health and economic dynamics at older ages. Her research interests include the causes and consequences of lacking health insurance, evaluation of public health insurance programs, and the role of health literacy in explaining disparities in health outcomes. Before coming to the University of Michigan she was an Assistant Professor at the Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago. She is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research and served as a Senior Economist to the President's Council of Economic Advisers in 2010-11. She received a Ph.D. in economics from Princeton.