Re-examining the Effects of Medicaid Expansions for Pregnant Women

Dhaval M. Dave, Sandra Decker, Robert Kaestner, Kosali I. Simon

NBER Working Paper No. 14591
Issued in December 2008
NBER Program(s):Children, Health Care, Health Economics, Public Economics

This paper analyzes the effect of Medicaid eligibility expansions on the health insurance coverage of women giving birth and on the use of prenatal care and infant health, controlling for year and state effects and state-specific trends that may be correlated with expansions in Medicaid eligibility. We combine estimates from the two sets of analyses to construct estimates of the effect of health insurance on use of prenatal care and infant health. We find that the eligibility expansions reduced the proportion of pregnant women who were uninsured by approximately 10 percent, although this decrease in uninsured came with the expense of a substantial reduction in private insurance coverage. Changes in Medicaid eligibility were associated with very small and statistically insignificant changes in prenatal care use, birth weight, and incidence of low-birth weight.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14591

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