The Impact of the ACA Medicaid Expansion on Disability Program Applications
NBER Working Paper No. 26192
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded the availability of public health insurance, decreasing the relative benefit of participating in disability programs but also lowering the cost of exiting the labor market to apply for disability program benefits. In this paper, we explore the impact of expanded access to Medicaid through the ACA on applications to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) programs. Using the fact that the Supreme Court decision of June 2012 made the Medicaid expansion optional for the states, we compare changes in county-level SSI and SSDI caseloads in contiguous county pairs across a state border. We find no significant effects of the Medicaid expansion on applications or awards to either SSI or SSDI, and can reject economically meaningful impacts of Medicaid expansions on applications to disability programs.
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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w26192