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An Apple a Day? Adult Food Stamp Eligibility and Health Care Utilization Among Immigrants

Author

Listed:
  • East, Chloe N.

    () (University of Colorado Denver)

  • Friedson, Andrew I.

    () (University of Colorado Denver)

Abstract

In this study, we document the effect of Food Stamp access on adult health care utilization. While Food Stamps is one of the largest safety net programs in the U.S. today, the universal nature of the program across geographic areas and over time limits the potential for quasi-experimental analysis. To circumvent this, we use variation in documented immigrants' eligibility for Food Stamps across states and over time due to welfare reform in 1996. Our estimates indicate that access to Food Stamps reduced the likelihood of an adult visiting a physician more than twice in one year, but had no significant effect on the likelihood of having any physician visits. This result does not appear to be due to changes in physical or mental health, or due to individuals with common chronic health conditions, leaving open the possibility that changes in nutrition or resources may reduce the need for physician visits. Additionally, we find that for single women, Food Stamps increased the affordability of specialty health care, which may have further reduced the need for physician visits. These findings have important implications for cost-benefit analyses of the Food Stamp program, as reductions in health care utilization due to Food Stamps may offset some of the program's impact on the overall government budget due to the existence of government-provided health insurance programs such as Medicaid.

Suggested Citation

  • East, Chloe N. & Friedson, Andrew I., 2018. "An Apple a Day? Adult Food Stamp Eligibility and Health Care Utilization Among Immigrants," IZA Discussion Papers 11445, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11445
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ruhm, Christopher J., 2005. "Healthy living in hard times," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 341-363, March.
    2. William N. Evans & Craig L. Garthwaite, 2014. "Giving Mom a Break: The Impact of Higher EITC Payments on Maternal Health," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 258-290, May.
    3. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
    4. Hoynes, Hilary W. & Luttmer, Erzo F.P., 2011. "The insurance value of state tax-and-transfer programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(11), pages 1466-1484.
    5. Bronchetti, Erin Todd, 2014. "Public insurance expansions and the health of immigrant and native children," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 205-219.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Food Stamps; immigrants; health care;

    JEL classification:

    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • H75 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Government: Health, Education, and Welfare
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • Q18 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Agricultural Policy; Food Policy

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