Document Type




Publication Date



Oxford University Press

Source Publication

Publius: The Journal of Federalism

Source ISSN



In the eight years since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), state governments have remained critical sites of contention over the law. Intense partisan conflict over ACA implementation has raised questions about traditional theories of intergovernmental relations, which posit that federal–state cooperation depends largely on policy design. Yet, few studies have examined how partisanship, as well as other important factors, shape state policy innovations under the ACA. This article examines the ACA’s State Innovation Models (SIM) initiative. SIM is specifically geared towards incentivizing states to experiment with new models of payment and delivery that can improve health outcomes and/or reduce health-care costs. Drawing on a combination of quantitative and qualitative evidence, we find that states’ participation in SIM is shaped by partisanship, administrative capacity, and state policy legacies. Our findings have implications for future efforts at intergovernmental health reforms.


Accepted version. Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Vol. 48, No, 3 (July 1, 2018): 425–453. DOI.© 2018 Oxford University Press. Used with permission.