You can't make me do it, but i could be persuaded: A federalism perspective on the affordable care act

Simon F. Haeder, David L. Weimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) seeks to change fundamentally the US health care system. The responses of states have been diverse and changing. What explains these diverse and dynamic responses? We examine the decision making of states concerning the creation of Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan programs and insurance marketplaces and the expansion of Medicaid in historical context. This frames our analysis and its implications for future health reform in broader perspective by identifying a number of characteristics of state-federal grants programs: (1) slow and uneven implementation; (2) wide variation across states; (3) accommodation by the federal government; (4) ideological conflict; (5) state response to incentives; (6) incomplete take-up rates of eligible individuals; and (7) programs as stepping-stones and wedges. Assessing the implementation of the three main components of the ACA, we find that partisanship exerts significant influence, yet less so in the case of Medicaid expansion. Moreover, factors specific to the insurance market also play an important role. Finally, we conclude by applying the themes to theACAand offer an outlook for its continuing implementation. Specifically, we expect a gradual move toward universal state participation in the ACA, especially with respect to Medicaid expansion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-323
Number of pages43
JournalJournal of health politics, policy and law
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy


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