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Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Changes in the Medicaid Eligibility of Pregnant Women

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  • Currie, Janet
  • Gruber, Jonathan

Abstract

The authors provide direct evidence on the effect of health insurance on health outcomes by examining the dramatic increases in the eligibility of pregnant women for the Medicaid program between 1979 and 1992. They find that the 30-percentage-point rise in Medicaid eligibility significantly lowered the incidence of low birth weight and infant mortality. Targeted changes in Medicaid eligibility that were restricted to specific low-income groups had much larger effects on birth outcomes than broader expansions of eligibility to women with higher income levels because of much lower take-up of this entitlement by the latter group. Copyright 1996 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Currie, Janet & Gruber, Jonathan, 1996. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Changes in the Medicaid Eligibility of Pregnant Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1263-1296, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:104:y:1996:i:6:p:1263-96
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
    2. Rebecca M. Blank & David E. Card, 1991. "Recent Trends in Insured and Uninsured Unemployment: Is There an Explanation?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1157-1189.
    3. Stephen Chaikind & Hope Corman, 1990. "The Special Education Costs of Low Birthweight," NBER Working Papers 3461, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Richard G. Frank & Donna M. Strobino & David S. Salkever & Catherine A. Jackson, 1992. "Updated Estimates of the Impact of Prenatal Care on Birthweight Outcomes by Race," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 27(4), pages 629-642.
    5. Janet Currie & Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Expansions of Medicaid Eligibility for Pregnant Women," NBER Working Papers 4644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Janet Currie, 2000. "Do Children of Immigrants Make Differential Use of Public Health Insurance?," NBER Chapters,in: Issues in the Economics of Immigration, pages 271-308 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Hope Corman & Theodore J. Joyce & Michael Grossman, 1987. "Birth Outcome Production Function in the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 22(3), pages 339-360.
    8. Currie, Janet & Cole, Nancy, 1993. "Welfare and Child Health: The Link between AFDC Participation and Birth Weight," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 971-985, September.
    9. Grossman, Michael & Joyce, Theodore J, 1990. "Unobservables, Pregnancy Resolutions, and Birth Weight Production Functions in New York City," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(5), pages 983-1007, October.
    10. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1974:64:7:717-718_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Janet Currie & Lucia Nixon & Nancy Cole, 1996. "Restrictions on Medicaid Funding of Abortion: Effects on Birth Weight and Pregnancy Resolutions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 159-188.
    12. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1991:81:12:1625-1629_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. -, 1992. "Siglas latinoamericanas," Sede de la CEPAL en Santiago (Estudios e Investigaciones) 29997, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    14. Blank, Rebecca M. & George, Christine C. & London, Rebecca A., 1996. "State abortion rates the impact of policies, providers, politics, demographics, and economic environment," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 513-553, October.
    15. repec:aph:ajpbhl:1978:68:10:1003-1008_4 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. William N. Evans & W. Kip Viscusi, 1993. "Income Effects and the Value of Health," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(3), pages 497-518.
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