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State Medicaid Expansions and Mortality, Revisited: A Cost-Benefit Analysis

Benjamin D. Sommers ()
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Benjamin D. Sommers: Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

American Journal of Health Economics, 2017, vol. 3, issue 3, 392-421

Abstract: Previous research found that Medicaid expansions in New York, Arizona, and Maine in the early 2000s reduced mortality. I revisit this question with improved data and methods, exploring distinct causes of death and presenting a cost-benefit analysis. Differences-in-differences analysis using a propensity score control group shows that all-cause mortality declined by 6 percent, with the most robust reductions for health-care amenable causes. HIV-related mortality (affected by the recent introduction of antiretrovirals) accounted for 20 percent of the effect. Mortality changes were closely linked to county-level coverage gains, with one life saved annually for every 239 to 316 adults gaining insurance. The results imply a cost per life saved ranging from $327,000 to $867,000 which compares favorably with most estimates of the value of a statistical life.

Keywords: Medicaid; health insurance; mortality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I13 I18 I38 D31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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