The Effects of DACA on Health Insurance, Access to Care, and Health Outcomes
No 6379, Working Paper from Department of Economics, University of Pittsburgh
This paper studies the effects of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)initiative on health insurance coverage, access to care, health care use, and health outcomes. Weexploit a difference-in-differences that relies on the discontinuity in program eligibility criteria.We find that DACA increased insurance coverage. In states that granted access to Medicaid, theincrease was driven by an increase in public insurance take-up. Where public coverage was notavailable, DACA eligibility increased individually purchased insurance. Despite the increase ininsurance coverage, there is no evidence of signi cant increases in health care use, although thereis some evidence that DACA increased demand for mental health services. After 2012, DACA-eligible individuals were more likely to report a usual place of care and less likely to delaycare because of financial restrictions. Finally, we fi nd some evidence that DACA improvedself-reported health, and reduced depression symptoms, indicators of stress and anxiety, andhypertension. These improvements are concentrated among individuals with income below thefederal poverty level.
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