Does a Lack of Health Insurance Elicit an Increase in the Rate of Voluntary Military Enlistment in the U.S.? The “Military Health Care Magnet Hypothesis,” 1974-2007

  •  Richard J. Cebula Cebula    
  •  Usha Nair-Reichert    
  •  Kyle Taylor    


This study addresses a question that has not been researched much previously, namely, does the unavailability of health insurance act as an incentive for persons to enlist in the military in the U.S.? This relationship is proffered as the “Military Health Care Magnet Hypothesis.”  The present study endeavors to provide insight into this issue within a cost-benefit framework. The empirical analysis uses annual data for the years 1974 through 2007, the only years to date for which all of the variables in the model are dependable after the end of military conscription in the U.S. in 1973. Both OLS and 2SLS results demonstrate, among other things, that the greater the percentage of the civilian population without health insurance, the greater the rate of enlistment in the U.S. Army.

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