Long-Term Impacts of Childhood Medicaid Expansions on Outcomes in Adulthood

Rev Econ Stud. 2020 Mar;87(2):792-821. doi: 10.1093/restud/rdz039. Epub 2019 Jul 25.


We use administrative data from the IRS to examine long-term impacts of childhood Medicaid eligibility expansions on outcomes in adulthood at each age from 19-28. Greater Medicaid eligibility increases college enrollment and decreases fertility, especially through age 21. Starting at age 23, females have higher contemporaneous wage income, although male increases are imprecise. Together, both genders have lower mortality. These adults collect less from the earned income tax credit and pay more in taxes. Cumulatively from ages 19-28, at a 3% discount rate, the federal government recoups 58 cents of each dollar of its "investment" in childhood Medicaid.