Is Welfare Reform Responsible for Low-Skilled Women’s Declining Health Insurance Coverage in the 1990s?
We use data from the 1989–2001 March Supplements to the Current Population Survey to determine whether welfare reform contributed to declines in health insurance coverage experienced by low-skilled women. Between 1988 and 2000, women with less than a high school education experienced an 8.0 percentage point decline in the probability of having health insurance. Against this backdrop of large declines, welfare waivers and TANF are associated with modest increases in coverage for low-skilled women of 2.3 and 3.6 percentage points respectively. Overall, our findings suggest that welfare reform did not contribute to declines in coverage but rather offset them somewhat.
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