The Value of Health Insurance During a Crisis: Effects of Medicaid Implementation on Pandemic Influenza Mortality

42 Pages Posted: 12 May 2020 Last revised: 29 May 2022

See all articles by Karen Clay

Karen Clay

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Joshua Lewis

University of Montreal

Edson Severnini

Carnegie Mellon University

Xiao Wang

Carnegie Mellon University

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 2020

Abstract

This paper studies how better access to public health insurance affects infant mortality during pandemics. Our analysis combines cross-state variation in mandated eligibility for Medicaid with two influenza pandemics – the 1957-58 “Asian Flu” Pandemic and the 1968-69 “Hong Kong Flu” Pandemic – that arrived shortly before and after the program's introduction. Exploiting heterogeneity in the underlying severity of these two shocks across counties, we find no relationship between Medicaid eligibility and pandemic infant mortality during the 1957-58 outbreak. In contrast during the 1968-1969 pandemic, which occurred after Medicaid implementation, we find that better access to insurance in high-eligibility states substantially reduced infant mortality. The reductions in pandemic infant mortality are too large to be attributable solely to new Medicaid recipients, suggesting that the expansion in health insurance coverage mitigated disease transmission among the broader population.

Suggested Citation

Clay, Karen B. and Lewis, Joshua and Severnini, Edson and Wang, Xiao, The Value of Health Insurance During a Crisis: Effects of Medicaid Implementation on Pandemic Influenza Mortality (May 2020). NBER Working Paper No. w27120, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3597852

Karen B. Clay (Contact Author)

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Joshua Lewis

University of Montreal ( email )

C.P. 6128 succursale Centre-ville
Montreal, Quebec H3C 3J7
Canada

Edson Severnini

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Xiao Wang

Carnegie Mellon University ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
5
Abstract Views
137
PlumX Metrics