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Welfare Reform and Health

  • Marianne P. Bitler
  • Jonah B. Gelbach
  • Hilary W. Hoynes

We investigate the relationship between welfare reform and health insurance, health care utilization, and self-reported measures of health status for women aged 20-45, using nationally representative data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. We present estimates from both difference-in-difference models (applied to single women and single women with children) and difference-indifference-in-difference models (using married women and single women without children as comparison groups). We find that welfare reform is associated with reductions in health insurance coverage and specific measures of health care utilization, as well as an increase in the likelihood of needing care but finding it unaffordable. We find no statistically significant effects of reform on health status. Overall, effects are somewhat larger for Hispanics compared to blacks and low educated women.

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File URL: http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/working_papers/2005/WR102-1.pdf
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Paper provided by RAND Corporation Publications Department in its series Working Papers with number 102-1.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: May 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ran:wpaper:102-1
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  1. Janet Currie & Jeffrey Grogger, 2000. "Medicaid Expansions and Welfare Contractions: Offsetting Effects on Prenatal Care and Infant Health?," NBER Working Papers 7667, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Jeffrey Grogger & Steven J. Haider & Jacob Klerman, 2003. "Why Did the Welfare Rolls Fall During the 1990's? The Importance of Entry," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 288-292, May.
  3. Marianne P. Bitler & Jonah B. Gelbach & Hilary W. Hoynes, 2003. "Some Evidence on Race, Welfare Reform, and Household Income," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 293-298, May.
  4. William N. Evans & Jeanne S. Ringel & Diana Stech, 1999. "Tobacco Taxes and Public Policy to Discourage Smoking," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 13, pages 1-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Meyer, Bruce D. & Rosenbaum, Dan T., 2000. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 4), pages 1027-62, December.
  6. Steven Haider & Alison Jacknowitz & Robert Schoeni, 2003. "Welfare work requirements and child well-being: Evidence from the effects on breast-feeding," Demography, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 479-497, August.
  7. Hilary W. Hoynes & Marianne P Bitler & Jonah Gelbach, 2005. "What Mean Impacts Miss:Distributional Effects of Welfare Reform Experiments," Working Papers 531, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  8. Kaestner, Robert & Kaushal, Neeraj, 2003. "Welfare reform and health insurance coverage of low-income families," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(6), pages 959-981, November.
  9. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good For Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650, May.
  10. Anna Aizer & Jeffrey Grogger, 2003. "Parental Medicaid Expansions and Health Insurance Coverage," NBER Working Papers 9907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Janet Currie & Aaron S. Yelowitz, 1999. "Health Insurance and Less Skilled Workers," JCPR Working Papers 63, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  12. Robert Kaestner & Elizabeth Tarlov, 2006. "Changes in the welfare caseload and the health of low-educated mothers," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(3), pages 623-643.
  13. George J. Borjas, 2003. "Welfare Reform, Labor Supply, and Health Insurance in the Immigrant Population," NBER Working Papers 9781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," NBER Working Papers 8983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Bruce D. Meyer & Dan T. Rosenbaum, 1999. "Making Single Mothers Work: Recent Tax and Welfare Policy and its Effects," JCPR Working Papers 152, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  16. Robert Kaestner & Won Chan Lee, 2003. "The Effect of Welfare Reform on Prenatal Care and Birth Weight," NBER Working Papers 9769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Grossman, Michael, 2000. "The human capital model," Handbook of Health Economics, in: A. J. Culyer & J. P. Newhouse (ed.), Handbook of Health Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 347-408 Elsevier.
  18. Christopher J. Ruhm & William E. Black, 2001. "Does Drinking Really Decrease in Bad Times?," NBER Working Papers 8511, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Robert Moffitt, 2002. "Welfare Programs and Labor Supply," NBER Working Papers 9168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Thomas S. Dee, 2001. "Alcohol abuse and economic conditions: Evidence from repeated cross-sections of individual-level data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 10(3), pages 257-270.
  21. Busch, Susan H. & Duchovny, Noelia, 2005. "Family coverage expansions: Impact on insurance coverage and health care utilization of parents," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 876-890, September.
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