The Long Term Effects of Medicaid Coverage
Medicaid/SCHIP covers more than 40 percent of children (Cohen and Martinez 2013) and is the third most expensive transfer program in the US. A large literature documents the effects of Medicaid coverage on contemporaneous insurance, utilization, and health (Buchmueller, Ham and Shore-Sheppard 2015), but Medicaid’s biggest effects on its child recipients may come later in life. Recent empirical work has begun to document the ways in which childhood Medicaid coverage translates into health, educational attainment, employment, and productivity decades later. Yet important questions remain open about the size of and heterogeneity in the link between Medicaid and later-life outcomes, as well as the potential mechanisms underlying this relationship. This session includes three papers that provide novel evidence on the effect of Medicaid coverage in childhood on health and productivity in adulthood. Andrew Goodman-Bacon examines the effects of Medicaid’s original introduction between 1966 and 1970 on rates of disability, employment and program participation for exposed cohorts who are now in their 40s. Sarah Miller will present evidence on the effects of childhood Medicaid coverage on labor market outcomes and fertility using a discontinuity in Medicaid eligibility based on date of birth. Finally, Max Kapustin combines unique administrative data from Chicago with this birth date discontinuity to estimate the effect of coverage in middle childhood on educational attainment among a population specifically targeted by the expansion, children in low-income families.