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Forum for Health Economics & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Goldman, Dana

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The Impact of Children's Public Health Insurance Expansions on Educational Outcomes

Phillip B Levine1 / Diane Schanzenbach2

1Wellesley College,

2University of Chicago,

Citation Information: Forum for Health Economics & Policy. Volume 12, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 1558-9544, DOI: 10.2202/1558-9544.1137, May 2009

Publication History

Published Online:
2009-05-01

This paper examines the impact of public health insurance expansions through both Medicaid and SCHIP on children's educational outcomes, measured by 4th and 8th grade reading and math test scores, available from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). We use a triple difference estimation strategy, taking advantage of the cross-state variation over time and across ages in children's health insurance eligibility. Using this approach, we find that test scores in reading, but not math, increased for those children affected at birth by increased health insurance eligibility. A 50 percentage point increase in eligibility is found to increase reading test scores by 0.09 standard deviations. We also examine whether the improvements in educational outcomes can be at least partially attributed to improvements in health status itself. First, we provide further evidence that increases in eligibility are linked to improvements in health status at birth. Second, we show that better health status at birth (measured by rates of low birth-weight and infant mortality), is linked to improved educational outcomes. Although the methods used to support this last finding do not completely eliminate potentially confounding factors, we believe it is strongly suggestive that improving children's health will improve their classroom performance.

Keywords: test scores; health insurance; birth weight; Medicaid; SCHIP

Citing Articles

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[1]
Anna Gassman-Pines and Zoelene Hill
Child Development Perspectives, 2013, Volume 7, Number 3, Page 172
[2]
Juergen Jung, Diane M. Harnek Hall, and Thomas Rhoads
Economics of Education Review, 2013, Volume 32, Page 49
[3]
John K. Iglehart and Benjamin D. Sommers
New England Journal of Medicine, 2015, Volume 372, Number 22, Page 2152
[4]
Janet Currie and Maya Rossin-Slater
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 2015, Volume 34, Number 1, Page 208
[5]
Patrick Sharkey, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Johanna Lacoe
Sociological Science, 2014, Volume 1, Page 199
[6]
Christina Robinson and Nicole M. Coomer
Applied Economics Letters, 2014, Volume 21, Number 7, Page 459
[7]
Yuyu Chen and Ginger Zhe Jin
Journal of Health Economics, 2012, Volume 31, Number 1, Page 1

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