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The War on Poverty's Experiment in Public Medicine: Community Health Centers and the Mortality of Older Americans

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  • Martha J. Bailey
  • Andrew Goodman-Bacon

Abstract

This paper uses the rollout of the first Community Health Centers (CHCs) to study the longer-term health effects of increasing access to primary care. Within ten years, CHCs are associated with a reduction in age-adjusted mortality rates of 2 percent among those 50 and older. The implied 7 to 13 percent decrease in one-year mortality risk among beneficiaries amounts to 20 to 40 percent of the 1966 poor/non-poor mortality gap for this age group. Large effects for those 65 and older suggest that increased access to primary care has longer-term benefits, even for populations with near universal health insurance. (JEL H75, I12, I13, I18, I32, I38, J14)

Suggested Citation

  • Martha J. Bailey & Andrew Goodman-Bacon, 2015. "The War on Poverty's Experiment in Public Medicine: Community Health Centers and the Mortality of Older Americans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(3), pages 1067-1104, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:3:p:1067-1104
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20120070
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Cutler & Ellen Meara, 2001. "Changes in the Age Distribution of Mortality Over the 20th Century," NBER Working Papers 8556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Janet Currie & Jonathan Gruber, 1996. "Health Insurance Eligibility, Utilization of Medical Care, and Child Health," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 431-466.
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    4. Martha J. Bailey, 2012. "Reexamining the Impact of Family Planning Programs on US Fertility: Evidence from the War on Poverty and the Early Years of Title X," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(2), pages 62-97, April.
    5. Simeonova, Emilia, 2013. "Doctors, patients and the racial mortality gap," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(5), pages 895-908.
    6. Bailey, Martha J. & Duquette, Nicolas J., 2014. "How Johnson Fought the War on Poverty: The Economics and Politics of Funding at the Office of Economic Opportunity," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(02), pages 351-388, June.
    7. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.70.1.15_6 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Hoynes, Hilary & Page, Marianne & Stevens, Ann Huff, 2011. "Can targeted transfers improve birth outcomes?: Evidence from the introduction of the WIC program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 813-827, August.
    9. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2004. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 226-267, February.
    10. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1998:88:3:364-370_5 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:pubeco:v:150:y:2017:i:c:p:75-93 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Casper Worm Hansen & Peter Sandholt Jensen & Peter Egedesø Madsen, 2017. "Preventing the White Death: Tuberculosis Dispensaries," Discussion Papers 17-19, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    3. Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2017. "Social Insurance and Health," IZA Discussion Papers 10918, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Cesur, Resul & Güne?, P?nar Mine & Tekin, Erdal & Ulker, Aydogan, 2015. "The Value of Socialized Medicine: The Impact of Universal Primary Healthcare Provision on Birth and Mortality Rates in Turkey," IZA Discussion Papers 9329, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Cesur, Resul & Güneş, Pınar Mine & Tekin, Erdal & Ulker, Aydogan, 2017. "The value of socialized medicine: The impact of universal primary healthcare provision on mortality rates in Turkey," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 75-93.
    6. Bailey, Martha J. & Duquette, Nicolas J., 2014. "How Johnson Fought the War on Poverty: The Economics and Politics of Funding at the Office of Economic Opportunity," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(02), pages 351-388, June.
    7. Marcella Alsan & Marianne Wanamaker, 2016. "Tuskegee and the Health of Black Men," NBER Working Papers 22323, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Ariel Marek Pihl, 2018. "Head Start and Mothers' Work: Free Child Care or Something More?," Working Papers 18-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    9. Lauren Hoehn Velasco, 2016. "Explaining Declines in US Rural Mortality, 1910-1933: The Role of County Health Departments," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 919, Boston College Department of Economics.
    10. repec:eee:jeborg:v:136:y:2017:i:c:p:76-90 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Ran Abramitzky, 2015. "Economics and the Modern Economic Historian," NBER Working Papers 21636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination

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