Childhood medicaid coverage and later-life health care utilization

Laura R. Wherry, Sarah Miller, Robert Kaestner, Bruce D. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exploiting a discontinuity in childhood Medicaid eligibility based on date of birth, we find that more years of childhood eligibility are associated with fewer hospitalizations in adulthood. For blacks, we find a 7-15% decrease in hospitalizations and a suggestive 2-5% decrease in emergency department visits, but no similar effect for non-blacks. The effects are pronounced for utilization related to chronic illnesses and for patients living in low-income zip codes. Calculations suggest that lower rates of hospitalizations during one year in adulthood for blacks offset between 2 and 4 percent of the initial costs of expanding Medicaid for all children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-302
Number of pages16
JournalReview of Economics and Statistics
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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