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Working and Living in the Shadow of Economic Fragility$
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Marion Crain and Michael Sherraden

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199988488

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199988488.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 25 January 2021

The Affordable Care Act and Low-Wage Workers

The Affordable Care Act and Low-Wage Workers

(p.70) 4 The Affordable Care Act and Low-Wage Workers
Working and Living in the Shadow of Economic Fragility

Timothy D. McBride

Oxford University Press

Policymakers designed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) to address the lack of access to affordable health insurance, a problem plaguing the United States for decades. However, the cost of health insurance remains a strain on the wages employers pay to workers and thus a contributor to income inequality. The ACA presents a significant opportunity to help low-wage workers and individuals with income below the poverty line by reversing at least some of the decades-long trends in inequality. But the act’s success depends on the success of the health insurance exchanges, how employers integrate the new system into their compensation practices, and how widely Medicaid is expanded. In the next few years, the ACA should be evaluated on the extent to which it meets the goals of reducing income inequality, as these goals, from a social-justice perspective, represent the right social and public health outcomes for the ACA.

Keywords:   compensation, fringe benefits, health insurance, health insurance exchanges, inequality, Medicaid, Obamacare, public health, social justice

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