Denver Law Professor Receives Grant To Research Affordable Care Act
Michael Sousa will study the effects of Medicaid expansion through ACA on bankruptcy rates
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a term that’s been volleyed between the presidential candidates frequently in the last several weeks. Healthcare will certainly be on Colorado voters’ minds as they consider Amendment 69, which would create a single-payer healthcare system for the state.
For one DU professor, the ACA is more than a contentious political issue. Michael Sousa, associate professor at the Sturm College of Law, received a research grant last week to take an in-depth look at the effects Medicaid expansion—which happened because of the ACA—has had on consumer bankruptcies. Sousa and his co-investigator, Brook E. Gotberg, associate professor at the University of Missouri School of Law, will collect data for the next two years.
“Finding a preliminary answer to this question may have great ramifications on the perceived success or failure of the nation’s health care system as well on the bankruptcy system’s social insurance function to thousands of consumer debtors who suffer under the weight of medical debt,” Sousa says.
The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) is the premier multi-disciplinary research organization addressing matters of insolvency, and this grant from the ABI Endowment Fund is a testament to Professor Sousa’s stature as a scholar and to the importance of his research project.
Their study, entitled “Consumer Bankruptcy and The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Placebo or Panacea?” will be the first to look at consumer bankruptcy and the ACA. They will compare data from Colorado and Missouri, since Colorado expanded Medicaid coverage through the ACA and Missouri did not.
“We expect to survey individuals who recently filed for bankruptcy to determine the extent of their medical debts and insurance coverage, and whether this had any correlative effect on their decision to file for bankruptcy,” Sousa explains. The pair will also conduct in-depth interviews with dozens of consumer debtors to understand their experiences with medical debt and bankruptcy.
“Michael Sousa has received deserved national recognition as a fresh scholarly voice in the important area of consumer indebtedness based on his rigorous methodological approach, his clear treatment of complex issues, and his empathy,” says Bruce Smith, dean of the Sturm College of Law. “The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) is the premier multi-disciplinary research organization addressing matters of insolvency, and this grant from the ABI Endowment Fund is a testament to Professor Sousa’s stature as a scholar and to the importance of his research project.”