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An Apple A Day?

Chloe East and Andrew Friedson ()

American Journal of Health Economics, 2020, vol. 6, issue 3, 289 - 323

Abstract: In this study, we document the effect of food stamp access on adult health-care utilization. While the Food Stamp Program is one of the largest safety net programs in the United States today, the universal nature of the program across geographic areas and over time limits the potential for quasi-experimental analysis. To circumvent this issue, we use variation in documented immigrants’ eligibility for food stamps across states and over time due to welfare reform in 1996. Our estimates indicate that access to food stamps reduced physician visits. These findings have important implications for cost-benefit analyses of the Food Stamp Program, as reductions in physician visits due to food stamps may offset some of the program’s impact on the overall government budget because of the existence of government-provided health insurance programs such as Medicaid.

Date: 2020
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