Does Medicaid Save Lives?

28 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2019

See all articles by Jiajia Chen

Jiajia Chen

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Economics

Date Written: August 5, 2019


In this article, I estimate the effect of the Medicaid expansions that occurred under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) on mortality. The ACA enabled states to expand Medicaid eligibility to all low-income, non-elderly adults. As a result, a significant proportion of previously uninsured people gained health insurance coverage. Using variation over time in eligibility rules by state/county and by parental status, I estimate the impact of Medicaid eligibility on age-specific mortality rates. I find that the expansion of Medicaid eligibility reduced healthcare amenable mortality rates by about 1.8 percent for adults aged 55-64. There are no detectable mortality impacts for the younger adult population.

Keywords: Medicaid, Mortality, ACA

JEL Classification: I13, I18, I38

Suggested Citation

Chen, Jiajia, Does Medicaid Save Lives? (August 5, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Jiajia Chen (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

725 University Hall (UH)
Chicago, IL 60607-7121
United States

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