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Access to Healthcare and Criminal Behavior: Evidence from the ACA Medicaid Expansions

Jacob Vogler

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2020, vol. 39, issue 4, 1166-1213

Abstract: I investigate the causal relationship between access to healthcare and crime following state decisions to expand Medicaid coverage after the Affordable Care Act. I combine state‐level crime data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports for the years 2009 through 2018 with variation in insurance eligibility generated by the Medicaid expansion. Using a difference‐in‐differences design, my findings indicate that states that expanded Medicaid have experienced a 5.3 percent reduction in annual reported violent crime rates relative to nonexpansion states. This effect is explained by decreases in aggravated assaults and corresponds to 17 fewer incidents per 100,000 people. The estimated decrease in reported crime amounts to an annual cost savings of approximately $4 billion.

Date: 2020
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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:39:y:2020:i:4:p:1166-1213