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The effect of Medicaid eligibility expansions on births

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  • Marianne Bitler
  • Madeline Zavodny

Abstract

In an effort to increase the use of prenatal care by pregnant women and the utilization of medical care by children, eligibility for Medicaid was expanded dramatically for pregnant women and children during the 1980s and early 1990s. By lowering the costs of prenatal care, delivery, and child health care for some individuals, Medicaid expansions may prompt some women to give birth who otherwise would not have children or lead some women to have more children than they otherwise would have. This study uses natality data from 1983 to 1996 to examine the relationship between a state's eligibility threshold for Medicaid and birth rates among various groups. The results suggest that expansions have significant and sizable effects on births. A 10 percentage point increase in the eligibility threshold is associated with a 1.4 percent increase in the birth rate among nonblack women and a 1.0 percent increase among black women. Between 1983 and 1996, the expansions appear to have led to an average increase in the birth rate of about 10 percent.

Suggested Citation

  • Marianne Bitler & Madeline Zavodny, 2000. "The effect of Medicaid eligibility expansions on births," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2000-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2000-4
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. T. Paul Schultz, 1994. "Marital Status and Fertility in the United States: Welfare and Labor Market Effects," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(2), pages 637-669.
    2. Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1995. "The Medicaid Notch, Labor Supply, and Welfare Participation: Evidence from Eligibility Expansions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 909-939.
    3. Greg Duncan & Saul Hoffman, 1990. "Welfare benefits, economic opportunities, and out-of-wedlock births among black teenage girls," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 27(4), pages 519-535, November.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas DeLeire & Leonard Lopoo & Kosali Simon, 2011. "Medicaid Expansions and Fertility in the United States," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(2), pages 725-747, May.
    2. Andrea Kutinova, 2006. "The Effects of Unemployment on Childbearing," Working Papers in Economics 06/12, University of Canterbury, Department of Economics and Finance.
    3. Reagan Baughman & Stacy Dickert-Conlin, 2009. "The earned income tax credit and fertility," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 22(3), pages 537-563, July.
    4. Marianne Bitler & Lucie Schmidt, 2012. "Utilization of Infertility Treatments: The Effects of Insurance Mandates," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(1), pages 125-149, February.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Demography ; Welfare ; Public policy ; Medicaid;

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