The effect of Medicaid on educational attainment

From The Effect of Child Health Insurance Access on Schooling: Evidence from Public Insurance Expansions, by Sarah Cohodes, Samuel Kleiner, Michael Lovenheim, and Daniel Grossman (NBER, 2014):

The effect of Medicaid expansions on access to healthcare and on subsequent child health has been studied extensively, (e.g., Currie and Gruber, 1996a, 1996b; Moss and Carver, 1998; Baldwin et al., 1998; Cutler and Gruber, 1996, LoSasso and Buchmueller, 2004; Gruber and Simon, 2008), typically showing that Medicaid expansions increase healthcare access, decrease infant mortality, and improve childhood health. Furthermore, these expansions and Medicaid access more generally have been linked to a lower likelihood of bankruptcy and to less medical debt (Gross and Notowidigdo, 2011; Finkelstein et al., 2012). If Medicaid leads to better health outcomes among children and to more stable finances among low-income households, as suggested by prior research, Medicaid expansions could lead to long-run benefits for affected children.

But the effect of Medicaid expansion for children on their educational attainment has not been studied, until this paper.

We find consistent evidence that Medicaid exposure when young increases later educational attainment. A 10 percentage point increase in average Medicaid eligibility between the ages of 0-17 decreases the high school dropout rate by 0.5 of a percentage point, increases college enrollment by between 0.7 of a percentage point and 1.0 percentage point, and increases the four-year college attainment rate (i.e., BA receipt) by 0.9-1.0 percentage point. These estimates translate into declines in high school non-completion of about 5%, increases in college attendance of between 1.0% and 1.5% and increases in BA attainment of about 3.3%-3.7% relative to the sample means.

Go read Adrianna for more on this study.


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