The Economics Department

Kate Baicker

Harvard School of Public Health

Fri, November 19, 2010 | BRB 1.118

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM

Public finance

What Does Health Insurance Do?  The Oregon Experiment

Abstract:   The recently enacted Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes a major expansion of Medicaid to low-income adults in 2014, but there is a shortage of convincing evidence on the causal effect of insuring the uninsured on their medical utilization, the quality and value of care they receive, health behaviors, health outcomes, or overall well-being. The Oregon Health Study capitalizes on a remarkable opportunity to gather such evidence using the strengths of random assignment. In 2008, Oregon randomly drew names from a waiting list for its previously closed public insurance program.  This seminar describes how we are using this opportunity to address several key questions:  Which populations did the insurance expansion reach?  How does insurance affect health care utilization?  What is the effect of insurance on health?  What are the broader effects of health insurance on well-being?  How do these effects differ for different groups?  We will answer these questions using a wide array of primary and secondary data, from administrative records to new biometric data.

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