Are Publicly Insured Children Less Likely to Be Admitted to Hospital than the Privately Insured (and Does it Matter)?

Posted: 22 Aug 2016

See all articles by Diane Alexander

Diane Alexander

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Janet Currie

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

Date Written: August 2016

Abstract

There is continuing controversy about the extent to which publicly insured children are treated differently than privately insured children, and whether differences in treatment matter. We show that on average, hospitals are less likely to admit publicly insured children than privately insured children who present at the ER and the gap grows during high flu weeks, when hospital beds are in high demand. This pattern is present even after controlling for detailed diagnostic categories and hospital fixed effects, but does not appear to have any effect on measurable health outcomes such as repeat ER visits and future hospitalizations. Hence, our results raise the possibility that instead of too few publicly insured children being admitted during high flu weeks, there are too many publicly and privately insured children being admitted most of the time.

Suggested Citation

Alexander, Diane and Currie, Janet, Are Publicly Insured Children Less Likely to Be Admitted to Hospital than the Privately Insured (and Does it Matter)? (August 2016). NBER Working Paper No. w22542. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2827427

Diane Alexander (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago ( email )

230 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60604
United States

Janet Currie

Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
6092587393 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.princeton.edu/~jcurrie

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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