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Medicaid Expansion And Emergency Department Utilization


  • Lindsey Woodworth


This study measures the effect of Medicaid expansion on emergency department (ED) utilization. It also explores the mechanism through which treatment effects operate. Identification relies on a county‐level Medicaid expansion rollout within California from 2011 to 2013. The results suggest that Medicaid expansion increased ED utilization in California. Every time one individual transferred into the Medicaid program, there emerged one additional ED visit per year. Furthermore, the effect appears to be driven by difficulty accessing primary care. These findings suggest Medicaid expansion may have different effects in different environments, depending on how easily enrollees can schedule appointments. (JEL I13, I18, I38)

Suggested Citation

  • Lindsey Woodworth, 2020. "Medicaid Expansion And Emergency Department Utilization," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 38(3), pages 561-576, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:coecpo:v:38:y:2020:i:3:p:561-576
    DOI: 10.1111/coep.12466

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. David Card & Carlos Dobkin & Nicole Maestas, 2008. "The Impact of Nearly Universal Insurance Coverage on Health Care Utilization: Evidence from Medicare," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 2242-2258, December.
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    JEL classification:

    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs


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