Economics at your fingertips  

Medicaid Expansion and the Mental Health of College Students

Benjamin Cowan () and Zhuang Hao

No 27306, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: Reported mental health problems have risen dramatically among U.S. college students over time, as has treatment for these problems. An open question is how healthcare access affects diagnosis of mental illness and treatments such as prescription psychotropic medication use. We examine the effect of state-level Medicaid expansion following the 2014 implementation of the Affordable Care Act on the diagnosis of mental health conditions and psychotropic prescription drug use of a national sample of college students. We find that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to report being on public insurance after 2014 in expansion states relative to non-expansion states, while more advantaged students do not see this increase. Both diagnosis of common mental health conditions and psychotropic drug use increase following expansion for disadvantaged students relative to advantaged ones, which translates into an elimination of the pre-treatment gap in these outcomes by family background in expansion states. However, these changes are not associated with short-term improvements in measures of mental health status or academic outcomes.

JEL-codes: I12 I13 I14 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020-06
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea and nep-ias
Note: HC HE
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf)
Access to the full text is generally limited to series subscribers, however if the top level domain of the client browser is in a developing country or transition economy free access is provided. More information about subscriptions and free access is available at Free access is also available to older working papers.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Ordering information: This working paper can be ordered from
The price is Paper copy available by mail.

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by ().

Page updated 2020-11-25
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27306