Medicaid Expansions and Welfare Contractions: Offsetting Effects on Prenatal Care and Infant Health?

40 Pages Posted: 17 May 2000 Last revised: 30 Apr 2010

See all articles by Janet Currie

Janet Currie

Princeton University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Jeffrey Grogger

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: April 2000

Abstract

Evaluations of changes to the Medicaid program have focused on increases in the generosity of income cutoffs for Medicaid eligibility. Previous research shows that despite dramatic increases in the number of births paid for by the Medicaid program, women often enroll in Medicaid at the point of birth rather than before. States have addressed this problem by adopting administrative measures designed to simplify the Medicaid application process and encourage the use of prenatal care. At the same time, recent declines in welfare caseloads may effectively increasing administrative barriers to obtaining care. We examine the effects of these three types of policies (changes in income eligibility, administrative reforms, and changes in welfare caseloads) on the use of prenatal care and infant health using data from birth certificates covering all U.S. births between 1990 and 1996. We find that increases in income cutoffs increased the use of prenatal care, while decreases in welfare caseloads reduced the use of prenatal care, especially among blacks. The administrative reforms we consider had little effect. The changes in the utilization of prenatal care that were induced by increases in income eligibility cutoffs and decreases in welfare rates led to small but statistically significant reductions in the incidence of very low birthweight among whites.

Suggested Citation

Currie, Janet and Grogger, Jeffrey T., Medicaid Expansions and Welfare Contractions: Offsetting Effects on Prenatal Care and Infant Health? (April 2000). NBER Working Paper No. w7667. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=228141

Janet Currie (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
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HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~jcurrie

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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Jeffrey T. Grogger

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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