Big impact on income gap is health law's new angle

January 29, 2014 by Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar
This handout photo provided by the Brookings Institution, taken Jan. 13, 2012, shows Gary Burtless of the Brookings Institution speaking in Washington. If the gap between haves and have-nots is the defining issue of President Barack Obama's second term, his health care overhaul was its first-term counterpart. Now it turns out the two are linked: new research shows that Obama's health care law will significantly boost the economic fortunes of people in the bottom fifth of the income ladder. Obama may be hard pressed to top his first-term accomplishment. (AP Photo/Ralph Alswang, Brooking Institution)

Maybe the health care law was about wealth transfer, after all.

A study by the nonpartisan Brookings Institution finds that the Affordable Care Act will boost the incomes of Americans in the bottom one-fifth of the income ladder by about 6 percent, while slightly reducing average incomes on the rungs above.

The gap between haves and have-nots is being called the defining issue of President Barack Obama's second term.

His health overhaul dominated the first term. Now it turns out the two are linked.

Obama lacks the votes in Congress for sweeping policy changes such as a higher minimum wage. So prospects for his second-term agenda on appear slim.

The health law may one day be seen as his biggest legacy to the poor, not just the uninsured.

Explore further: Haves and have-nots as health care markets open

Related Stories

Poll: Health law seen as eroding coverage

December 15, 2013

A poll finds that Americans who already have health insurance are blaming President Barack Obama's health care law for their rising premiums and deductibles.

Poll finds drop in uninsured rate

January 23, 2014

A closely watched survey says the nation's uninsured rate dropped modestly this month as the major coverage expansion under President Barack Obama's health care law got underway.

Recommended for you

Older people getting smarter, but not fitter

August 31, 2015

Older populations are scoring better on cognitive tests than people of the same age did in the past —a trend that could be linked to higher education rates and increased use of technology in our daily lives, say IIASA population ...

Higher intelligence score means better physical performance

August 14, 2015

New research reveals a distinct association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent midlife physical performance. The higher intelligence score, the better physical performance, the study reveals. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.