June, 2003

Subsidizing Addiction: Do State Health Insurance Mandates Increase Alcohol Consumption?

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In a new working paper, Mercatus scholars Jonathan Klick and Thomas Stratmann examine the effects of state laws requiring insurance policies to include treatment for alcohol and substance abuse. They statistically measure the effect on alcohol consumption today of laws that increase the level of insurance for addiction treatment in the future. They find that these insurance mandates lead to a statistically significant increase in alcohol consumption on the order of an additional beer per week per person!

The ideas presented in this research are the authors' and do not represent official positions of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.