Medicaid Policy Changes in Mental Health Care and Their Effect on Mental Health Outcomes

Alison Cuellar, Sara Markowitz

NBER Working Paper No. 12232
Issued in May 2006
NBER Program(s):Health Economics

In recent years, Medicaid has experienced a dramatic increase in spending on prescription drugs in general and psychotropic medications in particular. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of increased Medicaid spending on psychotropic drugs on improving the mental health and well-being of participants at the population level. Specifically, we study the effect on outcomes that are strongly correlated with mood disorders, including depression, and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity disorder, controlling for concomitant increases in Medicaid eligibility thresholds and expansion into managed care for mental health services. Knowledge of the effects of changes in the Medicaid program is crucial to policymakers as they consider implementing and expanding mental health services. Our results show that increased spending on antidepressants and stimulants are associated with improvements in some outcomes, but not in others.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12232

Published: Cuellar, Alison Evans & Markowitz, Sara, 2007. "Medicaid policy changes in mental health care and their effect on mental health outcomes," Health Economics, Policy and Law, Cambridge University Press, vol. 2(01), pages 23-49, January. citation courtesy of

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