Reconciling Seemingly Contradictory Results from the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment and the Massachusetts Health Reform
NBER Working Paper No. 24647
A headline result from the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment is that emergency room (ER) utilization increased. A seemingly contradictory result from the Massachusetts health reform is that ER utilization decreased. I reconcile both results by identifying treatment effect heterogeneity within the Oregon experiment and then extrapolating it to Massachusetts. I find that even though Oregon compliers increased their ER utilization, they were sicker than Oregon never takers, who would have decreased their ER utilization. Massachusetts expanded coverage from a higher level to healthier individuals. Therefore, Massachusetts compliers are comparable to a subset of Oregon never takers, which can reconcile the results.
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24647