NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Welfare Reform and Health

Marianne Bitler, Jonah Gelbach, Hilary Hoynes

NBER Working Paper No. 10549
Issued in June 2004
NBER Program(s):   HE   PE

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-in-difference-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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Published: Bitler, Marianne P., Jonah B. Gelbach and Hilary W. Hoynes. "Welfare Reform and Health," Journal of Human Resources, 2005, v40(2,Spring), 309-334.

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