Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Economics and Finance


The challenges facing the American health care system are well known and manifold. The United States pays substantially more for its health care than any other developed, industrialized nation. Per capita health care spending in 2012 was $8,745, up from $356 in 1970 without marked improvements in life expectancy, quality of life, or outcomes. But despite all of our health spending, large portions of our population go without health insurance. Being uninsured carries real consequences. A report published in the American Journal of Public Health, by researchers at Harvard Medical School, using statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that more than 45,000 people die every year because they cannot get access to health care - more than drunk driving and homicide combined. Cost is the biggest reason why people go without health insurance. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA-also known by both its proponents and detractors as Obamacare), was the most comprehensive health reform in nearly 50 years seeking to address both the uninsured problem and out-of-control health spending. This paper will examine the ACA's success in decreasing the uninsured rate with an analysis of its accompanying impact on costs in the market most affected by the law - the individual or non-group market.



Faculty Mentor

Shannon Peterson

Departmental Honors Advisor

Shannon Peterson

Capstone Committee Member

Frank Caliendo