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The long-term health impacts of Medicaid and CHIP

Owen Thompson

Journal of Health Economics, 2017, vol. 51, issue C, 26-40

Abstract: This paper estimates the effect of US public health insurance programs for children on health. Previous work in this area has typically focused on the relationship between current program eligibility and current health. But because health is a stock variable which reflects the cumulative influence of health inputs, it would be preferable to estimate the impact of total program eligibility during childhood on longer-term health outcomes. I provide such estimates by using longitudinal data to construct Medicaid and CHIP eligibility measures that are observed from birth through age 18 and estimating the effect of cumulative program exposure on a variety of health outcomes observed in early adulthood. To account for the endogeneity of program eligibility, I exploit variation in Medicaid and CHIP generosity across states and over time for children of different ages. I find that an additional year of public health insurance eligibility during childhood improves a summary index of adult health by.079 standard deviations, and substantially reduces health limitations, chronic conditions and asthma prevalence while improving self-rated health.

Keywords: Medicaid; Child health (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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