Using Discontinuous Eligibility Rules to Identify the Effects of the Federal Medicaid Expansions on Low Income Children

David Card, Lara D. Shore-Sheppard

NBER Working Paper No. 9058
Issued in July 2002
NBER Program(s):The Program on Children, The Health Care Program, The Public Economics Program

This paper exploits the discrete nature of the eligibility criteria for two major federal expansions of Medicaid to measure the effects on Medicaid coverage, overall health insurance coverage, and the probability of visiting a doctor. The '100 percent' expansion, effective in 1991, extended Medicaid eligibility to children born after September 30, 1983 in families below the poverty line. We estimate that this law led to about a 10 percentage point rise in Medicaid coverage for children born just after the cutoff date, and a similar or slightly smaller rise in overall health insurance. It also increased the fraction of children in the newly eligible group with a doctor visit in the previous year. The '133 percent' expansion, effective in 1990, extended Medicaid to children under 6 in families with incomes below 133 percent of the poverty line. This law had relatively small effects on Medicaid coverage for children near the eligibility limits, and little or no effect on health insurance coverage.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w9058

Published: David Card & Lara D. Shore-Sheppard, 2004. "Using Discontinuous Eligibility Rules to Identify the Effects of the Federal Medicaid Expansions on Low-Income Children," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(3), pages 752-766, November. citation courtesy of

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