Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department


Reader 1

Serkan Ozbeklik

Rights Information

2020 Henry M. Kraham


In 2009 the Obama Administration enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a tool to increase health insurance participation nationwide and lower healthcare costs. Up to this point, health insurance participation had been decreasing and healthcare costs had been increasing. These trends were exacerbated by the Great Recession in 2008. An integral part of the ACA was the implementation of an individual mandate, requiring individuals to subscribe to health insurance or face a tax penalty. The mandate proved effective in increasing health insurance enrollment. After a long legal battle, the individual mandate was effectively nullified in 2017 under the Trump Administration. In this paper I analyze the effects of the mandate nullification on health insurance participation. I specifically examine the effects across gender and race/ethnicity. Using a linear probability difference-in-differences model, I find that overall the nullification of the individual health insurance mandate has a negative effect on health insurance participation. Within the demographic analysis, I find that the overall negative effect is carried by white individuals. These findings may be instructive to policymakers as they reconsider the role of an individual mandate or seek to return to a positive trend in the health insurance participation rate.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.