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The Impact of Children's Public Health Insurance Expansions on Educational Outcomes

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  • Levine Phillip B

    ()
    (Wellesley College)

  • Schanzenbach Diane

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of public health insurance expansions through both Medicaid and SCHIP on children's educational outcomes, measured by 4th and 8th grade reading and math test scores, available from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). We use a triple difference estimation strategy, taking advantage of the cross-state variation over time and across ages in children's health insurance eligibility. Using this approach, we find that test scores in reading, but not math, increased for those children affected at birth by increased health insurance eligibility. A 50 percentage point increase in eligibility is found to increase reading test scores by 0.09 standard deviations. We also examine whether the improvements in educational outcomes can be at least partially attributed to improvements in health status itself. First, we provide further evidence that increases in eligibility are linked to improvements in health status at birth. Second, we show that better health status at birth (measured by rates of low birth-weight and infant mortality), is linked to improved educational outcomes. Although the methods used to support this last finding do not completely eliminate potentially confounding factors, we believe it is strongly suggestive that improving children's health will improve their classroom performance.

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File URL: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/fhep.2009.12.1/fhep.2009.12.1.1137/fhep.2009.12.1.1137.xml?format=INT
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Forum for Health Economics & Policy.

Volume (Year): 12 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 1-28

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:fhecpo:v:12:y:2009:i:1:n:1

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  1. Janet Currie & Sandra Decker & Wanchuan Lin, 2008. "Has Public Health Insurance for Older Children Reduced Disparities in Access to Care and Health Outcomes?," NBER Working Papers 14173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Chen, Yuyu & Jin, Ginger Zhe, 2012. "Does health insurance coverage lead to better health and educational outcomes? Evidence from rural China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 1-14.
  2. Diane M. Harnak Hall & Juergen Jung & Thomas Rhoads, 2010. "Does the Availability of Parental Health Insurance Affect the College Enrollment Decision of Young Americans?," Working Papers 2010-05, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised May 2011.
  3. Hahn, Youjin, 2013. "The effect of Medicaid physician fees on take-up of public health insurance among children in poverty," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 452-462.

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