Medicaid Policy, Physician Behavior, and Health Care for the Low-Income Population
June 1998 (Revised) Concerns about the health of poor children and mothers produced major changes in the Medicaid public insurance program during the last decade, including expansions in program eligibility and increases in fees paid to physicians who care for covered patients. We examine physician responses to Medicaid policy changes aimed at improving care for pregnant women in order to understand the effects of Medicaid policy on physician behavior as well as to study the effectiveness of the expansions in improving access to care. We find that expanded eligibility for Medicaid did increase access to physician services. However, contrary to the findings of some previous studies, increases in access are only apparent for the physicians in "public" institutions such as public clinics and hospital clinics; we find no evidence that increases in eligibility increase access to the physicians in our sample who are based in private offices. Our evidence also suggests that the impact of fees on physician behavior may be smaller than previous estimates would imply. We find that increases in fees are associated with increases in service to poor populations by these young private physicians, but some of this increase simply reflects shifting of patients from "public" sites to private physician offices.
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NBER Working Papers
4930, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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NBER Working Papers
2746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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"Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Expansions of Medicaid Eligibility for Pregnant Women,"
94-11, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Janet Currie & Jonathan Gruber, 1994. "Saving Babies: The Efficacy and Cost of Recent Expansions of Medicaid Eligibility for Pregnant Women," NBER Working Papers 4644, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Moffitt, Robert, 1992. "Incentive Effects of the U.S. Welfare System: A Review," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(1), pages 1-61, March.
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- Jeffrey E. Harris, 1982. "Prenatal Medical Care and Infant Mortality," NBER Chapters, in: Economic Aspects of Health, pages 13-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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