Does Publicly Provided Health Insurance Improve the Health of Low-Income Children in the United States

Robert Kaestner, Theodore Joyce, Andrew Racine

NBER Working Paper No. 6887
Issued in January 1999
NBER Program(s):   CH   HE

In this study we analyze the effect of Medicaid on children's heath. We examine the effect of Medicaid on a variety of health outcomes using two data sources: the National Health Interview Surveys (NHIS) and the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) of hospital discharges. Using the NHIS, we examine the effect of Medicaid participation on maternal ratings of child health and maternal reports of the number of bed days in the past year (i.e. morbidity). The NIS data was used to examine the effect of Medicaid program expansions on the incidence of ambulatory care sensitive (ACS) discharges. ACS discharges are known to be sensitive to medical intervention and are objective measures of children's health. The results of this paper provide at best weak support for the hypothesis that Medicaid improves the health of low-income children.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w6887

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