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Access to Care, Provider Choice and Racial Disparities

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  • Anna Aizer
  • Adriana Lleras-Muney
  • Mark Stabile

Abstract

This paper explores whether choice of provider explains any of the observed infant health gradients, and if so, why poor women choose different providers than their richer neighbors. We exploit an exogenous change in policy that occurred in California in the early 1990s that suddenly increased Medicaid payments to hospitals and which lead to a sharp change in where women with Medicaid delivered. To characterize the extent to which poor women responded to the increase in provider access, we calculate hospital segregation indices (which measure the extent to which Medicaid mothers delivered in separate hospitals than privately insured mothers residing in the same geographic area) both before and after the policy change for each market in California and show that it fell sharply after the policy change. Even though black mothers responded least to the increase in provider choice afforded by the policy change, they benefited the most from hospital desegregation in terms of reduced neonatal mortality and decreased incidence of very low birth weight. In contrast, other groups with lower initial neonatal mortality moved more and gained less in terms of improvements in birth outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Aizer & Adriana Lleras-Muney & Mark Stabile, 2004. "Access to Care, Provider Choice and Racial Disparities," NBER Working Papers 10445, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10445
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Janet Currie & Patricia Reagan, 1998. "Distance to Hospitals and Children's Access to Care: Is Being Closer Better, and for Whom?," NBER Working Papers 6836, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    3. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167.
    4. David M. Cutler & Ellen Meara, 2000. "The Technology of Birth: Is It Worth It?," NBER Chapters, in: Frontiers in Health Policy Research, Volume 3, pages 33-68, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Mark G. Duggan, 2000. "Hospital Ownership and Public Medical Spending," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1343-1373.
    6. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Multiproduct Firms, Product Differentiation, and Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    7. Mark Duggan, 2000. "Hospital Market Structure and the Behavior of Not-for-Profit Hospitals: Evidence from Responses to California's Disproportionate Share Program," NBER Working Papers 7966, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anna Aizer & Adriana Lleras-Muney & Mark Stabile, 2005. "Access to Care, Provider Choice, and the Infant Health Gradient," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 248-252, May.
    2. Aparna Lhila & Sharon Long, 2012. "What is driving the black–white difference in low birthweight in the US?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(3), pages 301-315, March.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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