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Saving Teens: Using a Policy Discontinuity to Estimate the Effects of Medicaid Eligibility

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  • Laura R. Wherry
  • Bruce D. Meyer

Abstract

We examine the immediate and longer-term mortality effects of public health insurance eligibility during childhood. Our identification exploits expansions in Medicaid eligibility that applied only to children born after September 30, 1983. This feature resulted in a large discontinuity in the cumulative years of eligibility of children at this birth date cutoff. Under the expansions, black children gained twice the years of Medicaid eligibility as white children. We find a later-life decline in the rate of disease-related mortality for black cohorts born after the cutoff. We find no evidence of a similar mortality improvement for white children.

Suggested Citation

  • Laura R. Wherry & Bruce D. Meyer, 2016. "Saving Teens: Using a Policy Discontinuity to Estimate the Effects of Medicaid Eligibility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(3), pages 556-588.
  • Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:51:y:2016:i:3:p:556-588
    Note: DOI: doi:10.3368/jhr.51.3.0913-5918R1
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    1. James Marton & Aaron Yelowitz, 2015. "Health insurance generosity and conditional coverage: Evidence from medicaid managed care in Kentucky," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 535-555, October.
    2. Laura R. Wherry & Bruce D. Meyer, 2016. "Saving Teens: Using a Policy Discontinuity to Estimate the Effects of Medicaid Eligibility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(3), pages 556-588.
    3. 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.
    4. Sarah R. Cohodes & Daniel S. Grossman & Samuel A. Kleiner & Michael F. Lovenheim, 2016. "The Effect of Child Health Insurance Access on Schooling: Evidence from Public Insurance Expansions," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(3), pages 727-759.
    5. Kasey S. Buckles & Daniel M. Hungerman, 2013. "Season of Birth and Later Outcomes: Old Questions, New Answers," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(3), pages 711-724, July.
    6. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper is not listed on IDEAS
    7. David Card & Carlos Dobkin & Nicole Maestas, 2009. "Does Medicare Save Lives?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 597-636.
    8. David M. Cutler & Jonathan Gruber, 1996. "Does Public Insurance Crowd out Private Insurance?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 391-430.
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    10. Laura R. Wherry & Sarah Miller & Robert Kaestner & Bruce D. Meyer, 2018. "Childhood Medicaid Coverage and Later-Life Health Care Utilization," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(2), pages 287-302, May.
    11. Lo Sasso, Anthony T. & Buchmueller, Thomas C., 2004. "The effect of the state children's health insurance program on health insurance coverage," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 1059-1082, September.
    12. Kaestner, R. & Joyce, T. & Racine, A., 2001. "Medicaid eligibility and the incidence of ambulatory care sensitive hospitalizations for children," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 305-313, January.
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    15. repec:pri:cheawb:case_paxson_economic_status_paper.pdf is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Case, Anne & Fertig, Angela & Paxson, Christina, 2005. "The lasting impact of childhood health and circumstance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 365-389, March.
    17. David W. Brown & Amanda E. Kowalski & Ithai Z. Lurie, 2015. "Medicaid as an Investment in Children: What is the Long-Term Impact on Tax Receipts?," NBER Working Papers 20835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Sarah Miller & Laura R. Wherry, 2019. "The Long-Term Effects of Early Life Medicaid Coverage," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 54(3), pages 785-824.
    19. Currie, Janet & Decker, Sandra & Lin, Wanchuan, 2008. "Has public health insurance for older children reduced disparities in access to care and health outcomes?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 1567-1581, December.
    20. David Card & Lara Dawn Shore-Sheppard, 2001. "Using Discontinuous Eligibility Rules to Identify the Effects of the Federal Medicaid Expansions," JCPR Working Papers 248, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • I14 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Inequality

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