Accessing the Safety Net: How Medicaid Affects Health, Employment, and Recidivism

Awarded Scholars:
Analisa Packham, Vanderbilt University
David Slusky, University of Kansas
Project Date:
Mar 2021
Award Amount:

This project will estimate the causal effects of Medicaid access on health, crime, and labor market outcomes for vulnerable populations—specifically, those with interactions in the criminal justice system. To do so, the researcher will leverage a newly implemented policy in Pennsylvania that enabled Medicaid-enrolled inmates to suspend their benefits while incarcerated, rather than having those benefits automatically terminated. The project will provide estimates indicating whether removing these Medicaid application and certification barriers for low-income ex-offenders can affect their health care take-up, as well as their criminal behavior, and eventual occupation and wage trajectories upon release. The research findings will speak to public policy debates regarding the total benefits of reducing barriers to the safety net, and, in turn, can address ways to improve lives of millions of individuals relying on Medicaid.


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