September 2009

IZA DP No. 4450: Happiness and Health Care Coverage

In this paper I examine the characteristics of adults who report on whether they have health care coverage and of people who say that they are unable to see a doctor over the preceding year because of the cost. I make use of a unique data set, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a phone survey undertaken in the United States for the years 2005-2009. I find evidence that not having the ability to see a doctor because of an inability to pay is a major and substantial source of unhappiness in the United States, even for people with high income.