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Did the ACA Medicaid expansion save lives?

Mark Borgschulte and Jacob Vogler

Journal of Health Economics, 2020, vol. 72, issue C

Abstract: We estimate the effect of the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansion on county-level mortality in the first four years following expansion using restricted-access microdata covering all deaths in the United States. To adjust for pre-expansion differences in mortality rates between treatment and control, we use a propensity-score weighting model together with techniques from machine learning to match counties in expansion and non-expansion states. We find a reduction in all-cause mortality in ages 20 to 64 equaling 11.36 deaths per 100,000 individuals, a 3.6 percent decrease. This estimate is largely driven by reductions in mortality in counties with higher pre-expansion uninsured rates and for causes of death likely to be influenced by access to healthcare. A cost-benefit analysis shows that the improvement in welfare due to mortality responses may offset the entire net-of-transfers expenditure associated with the expansion.

Keywords: Health insurance; Medicaid; Mortality; Public health insurance; Healthcare; Affordable Care Act (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H75 I13 I14 I18 I38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2020.102333

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Journal of Health Economics is currently edited by J. P. Newhouse, A. J. Culyer, R. Frank, K. Claxton and T. McGuire

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