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

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  • Phillip B. Levine
  • Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14671.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Publication status: published as Phillip B. Levine & Diane Schanzenbach, 2009. "The Impact of Children's Public Health Insurance Expansions on Educational Outcomes," Forum for Health Economics & Policy, Berkeley Electronic Press, vol. 12(1).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14671

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  1. Dafny, Leemore & Gruber, Jonathan, 2005. "Public insurance and child hospitalizations: access and efficiency effects," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 109-129, January.
  2. John C. Ham & Lara D. Shore-Sheppard, 2003. "Did Expanding Medicaid Affect Welfare Participation?," NBER Working Papers 9803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. Currie, Janet & Stabile, Mark, 2006. "Child mental health and human capital accumulation: The case of ADHD," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(6), pages 1094-1118, November.
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  16. Esel Y. Yazici & Robert Kaestner, 1998. "Medicaid Expansions and The Crowding Out of Private Health Insurance," NBER Working Papers 6527, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Gordon B. Dahl & Lance Lochner, 2005. "The Impact of Family Income on Child Achievement," NBER Working Papers 11279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Jason Boardman & Daniel Powers & Yolanda Padilla & Robert Hummer, 2002. "Low birth weight, social factors, and developmental outcomes among children in the United States," Demography, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 353-368, May.
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  21. Blumberg, Linda J. & Dubay, Lisa & Norton, Stephen A., 2000. "Did the Medicaid expansions for children displace private insurance? An analysis using the SIPP," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 33-60, January.
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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. Jung, Juergen & Hall, Diane M. Harnek & Rhoads, Thomas, 2013. "Does the availability of parental health insurance affect the college enrollment decision of young Americans?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 49-65.
  3. Youjin Hahn, 2012. "The Effect of Medicaid Physician Fees on Take-up of Public Health Insurance among Children in Poverty," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 29-12, Monash University, Department of Economics.

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