Party Control, Policy Reforms, and the Impact on Health Insurance Coverage in the U.S. States


  • *Direct correspondence to Jeff Cummins, Department of Political Science, California State University, Fresno, 2225 E. San Ramon, M/S MF 19, Fresno, CA 93740-8029 〈〉. The author will share all data and coding information with those wishing to replicate the study. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2009 Western Political Science Association Annual Conference, Vancouver, Canada. This project received support from the College of Social Sciences and the Provost Research Award at California State University, Fresno. The author thanks Susan Laudicina of the BlueCross BlueShield Association for sharing data on state health-care laws. He also thanks Johannes Siemson, Ashlin Mattos, and Orry Hamilton for their research assistance.


Objectives. One of the major policy concerns at the federal and state level is the rising number of individuals without health insurance. The purpose of this article is to investigate whether party control of government and various state reforms impact the percentage of the state population without health insurance.

Methods. Using data from 1987–2007, I empirically examine whether party control and five state policy reforms reduce the uninsured population.

Results. The results show that Republicans are more effective than Democrats at the state level at reducing insurance gaps and that three of five policy reforms explored appear to significantly expand insurance coverage.

Conclusions. The results provide valuable insight into which components of health-care reform at the national level may help address the health insurance problem.