Medicaid Medicaid/Medicare Public Policy

Does having health insurance reduce recidivism?

That is the question asked in a recent paper by Gollu et al. (2022). The study abstract is below:

Although people who go through the prison and jail system in the United States have significant health care needs, many leave it with no health insurance and, as a result, they experience gaps in access to care. Exploiting variation in Medicaid eligibility policies for incarcerated individuals across states and using administrative prison release data, we find that suspending rather than terminating Medicaid upon incarceration decreases the probability of returning to prison within 1 and 3 years of release by 2.91 and 4.58 percentage points, respectively. These effects are observed among different types of prisoners, but are greater for Black and repeat offenders. Our results suggest that faster and easier reinstatement of Medicaid benefits upon prison release decreases recidivism rate and are directly relevant to ongoing policy debates on the health care coverage of vulnerable populations.

HT: Kevin Lewis.

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