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The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment: Evidence from the First Year

58 Pages Posted: 7 Jul 2011  

Amy Finkelstein

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Sarah Taubman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Bill Wright

Providence Health & Services - Center for Outcomes Research and Education

Mira Bernstein

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jonathan Gruber

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Joseph P. Newhouse

Harvard Medical School; Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Heidi Allen

Providence Health & Services - Center for Outcomes Research and Education

Katherine Baicker

Harvard University - Department of Health Policy & Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 2011

Abstract

In 2008, a group of uninsured low-income adults in Oregon was selected by lottery to be given the chance to apply for Medicaid. This lottery provides a unique opportunity to gauge the effects of expanding access to public health insurance on the health care use, financial strain, and health of low-income adults using a randomized controlled design. In the year after random assignment, the treatment group selected by the lottery was about 25 percentage points more likely to have insurance than the control group that was not selected. We find that in this first year, the treatment group had substantively and statistically significantly higher health care utilization (including primary and preventive care as well as hospitalizations), lower out-of-pocket medical expenditures and medical debt (including fewer bills sent to collection), and better self-reported physical and mental health than the control group.

Suggested Citation

Finkelstein, Amy and Taubman, Sarah and Wright, Bill and Bernstein, Mira and Gruber, Jonathan and Newhouse, Joseph P. and Allen, Heidi and Baicker, Katherine, The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment: Evidence from the First Year (July 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w17190. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1881018

Amy Finkelstein (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Sarah Taubman

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
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Bill Wright

Providence Health & Services - Center for Outcomes Research and Education ( email )

United States

Mira Bernstein

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Jonathan Gruber

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
Room E52-355
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617-253-1330 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://web.mit.edu/gruberj/www/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Joseph P. Newhouse

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard Medical School; Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

Department of Health Care Policy
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Heidi Allen

Providence Health & Services - Center for Outcomes Research and Education ( email )

United States

Katherine Baicker

Harvard University - Department of Health Policy & Management ( email )

677 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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