Working Paper

Medicaid Expansion and the Unemployed

Abstract: We examine how a key provision of the Affordable Care Act—the expansion of Medicaid eligibility—affected health insurance coverage, access to care, and labor market transitions of unemployed workers. Comparing trends in states that implemented the Medicaid expansion to those that did not, we find that the ACA Medicaid expansion substantially increased insurance coverage and improved access to health care among unemployed workers. We then test whether this strengthening of the safety net affected transitions from unemployment to employment or out of the labor force. We find no meaningful statistical evidence in support of moral hazard effects that reduce job finding or labor force attachment.

Keywords: Medicaid; access to care; unemployment; insurance coverage; labor force transitions;

JEL Classification: A12; A13; I13; I18;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

Part of Series: Working Paper Series

Publication Date: 2019-12-16

Number: 2019-29

Note: Prepared for presentation at “Defense against the Dark Arts: A labor economics conference in honor of John E. DiNardo,” University of Michigan, September 28-29, 2018. Financial support for this project from the Russell Sage Foundation is gratefully acknowledged. The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the authors and are not attributable to the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or the Federal Reserve System.