NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Publications by Laura R. Wherry

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August 2012Saving Teens: Using a Policy Discontinuity to Estimate the Effects of Medicaid Eligibility
with Bruce D. Meyer: w18309
This paper uses a policy discontinuity to identify the immediate and long-term effects of public health insurance coverage during childhood. Our identification strategy exploits a unique feature of several early Medicaid expansions that extended eligibility only to children born after September 30, 1983. This feature resulted in a large discontinuity in the lifetime years of Medicaid eligibility of children at this birthdate cutoff. Those with family incomes at or just below the poverty line had close to five more years of eligibility if they were born just after the cutoff than if they were born just before. We use this discontinuity in eligibility to measure the impact of public health insurance on mortality by following cohorts of children born on either side of this cutoff from childh...

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