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Welfare Reform and Health

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  • Marianne Bitler
  • Jonah Gelbach
  • Hilary Hoynes

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between welfare reform and health insurance, health care utilization, and self-reported measures of health status for women aged 20-45, using nationally representative data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. We present estimates from both difference-in-difference models (applied to single women and single women with children) and difference-in-difference-in-difference models (using married women and single women without children as comparison groups). We find that welfare reform is associated with reductions in health insurance coverage and specific measures of health care utilization, as well as an increase in the likelihood of needing care but finding it unaffordable. We find no statistically significant effects of reform on health status. Overall, effects are somewhat larger for Hispanics compared to blacks and low educated women.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10549.

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Date of creation: Jun 2004
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Publication status: published as Bitler, Marianne P., Jonah B. Gelbach and Hilary W. Hoynes. "Welfare Reform and Health," Journal of Human Resources, 2005, v40(2,Spring), 309-334.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10549

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  1. Moffitt, Robert A., 2002. "Welfare programs and labor supply," Handbook of Public Economics, Elsevier, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 34, pages 2393-2430 Elsevier.
  2. Jeffrey Grogger & Steven J. Haider & Jacob Alex Klerman, 2003. "Why Did the Welfare Rolls Fall During the 1990s? The Importance of Entry," Working Papers, RAND Corporation Publications Department 03-07, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  3. Borjas, George J., 2003. "Welfare reform, labor supply, and health insurance in the immigrant population," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 933-958, November.
  4. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2006. "What Mean Impacts Miss: Distributional Effects of Welfare Reform Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 96(4), pages 988-1012, September.
  5. Christopher J. Ruhm & William E. Black, 2001. "Does Drinking Really Decrease in Bad Times?," NBER Working Papers 8511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
  7. Meyer, Bruce D. & Rosenbaum, Dan T., 2000. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1027-62, December.
  8. Kaestner, Robert & Kaushal, Neeraj, 2003. "Welfare reform and health insurance coverage of low-income families," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 959-981, November.
  9. Robert Kaestner & Won Chan Lee, 2003. "The Effect of Welfare Reform on Prenatal Care and Birth Weight," NBER Working Papers 9769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Robert Kaestner & Elizabeth Tarlov, 2006. "Changes in the welfare caseload and the health of low-educated mothers," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 623-643.
  11. Grossman, Michael, 2000. "The human capital model," Handbook of Health Economics, Elsevier, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 347-408 Elsevier.
  12. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2003. "Some Evidence on Race, Welfare Reform, and Household Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 293-298, May.
  13. William N. Evans & Jeanne S. Ringel & Diana Stech, 1999. "Tobacco Taxes and Public Policy to Discourage Smoking," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, volume 13, pages 1-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Anna Aizer & Jeffrey Grogger, 2003. "Parental Medicaid Expansions and Health Insurance Coverage," NBER Working Papers 9907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
  16. Janet Currie & Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1999. "Health Insurance and Less Skilled Workers," JCPR Working Papers, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research 63, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  17. Janet Currie & Jeffrey Grogger, 2000. "Medicaid Expansions and Welfare Contractions: Offsetting Effects on Prenatal Care and Infant Health?," NBER Working Papers 7667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 2000. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," NBER Working Papers 7491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Thomas S. Dee, 2001. "Alcohol abuse and economic conditions: Evidence from repeated cross-sections of individual-level data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(3), pages 257-270.
  20. Busch, Susan H. & Duchovny, Noelia, 2005. "Family coverage expansions: Impact on insurance coverage and health care utilization of parents," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 876-890, September.
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