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The Impact of Medicaid Expansion on Voter Participation: Evidence from the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment

Katherine Baicker, Amy Finkelstein

NBER Working Paper No. 25244
Issued in November 2018
NBER Program(s):Aging, Health Care, Public Economics, Political Economy

In 2008, a group of uninsured low-income adults in Oregon was selected by lottery for the chance to apply for Medicaid. Using this randomized design and state administrative data on voter behavior, we analyze how a Medicaid expansion affected voter turnout and registration. We find that Medicaid increased voter turnout in the November 2008 Presidential election by about 7 percent overall, with the effects concentrated in men (18 percent increase) and in residents of democratic counties (10 percent increase); there is suggestive evidence that the increase in voting reflected new voter registrations, rather than increased turnout among pre-existing registrants. There is no evidence of an increase in voter turnout in subsequent elections, up to and including the November 2010 midterm election.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w25244

 
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