Lecture on "Health Insurance and Birth Outcomes: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act"
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Lecture on "Health Insurance and Birth Outcomes: Evidence from the Affordable Care Act"
DateandTime: 2017-03-16 21:11:33

Speaker: Ma Jie, Reasearch Fellow of Jinhe Center for Economic Research, Xi'an Jiaotong University

Date: March 16, 2017

Time: 3:30 pm

Location: B423 Juxian Hall, Zhixin Building, Central Campus

Sponsor: the School of Economics


The Affordable Care Act young adult provision allows young adults to stay on parents' private insurance plans until age 26 and has been shown to expand private health insurance coverage for the 19-26 age group. Prior research also shows that extending health insurance to young adults may reduce births. This paper uses birth certificate data with rich demographic and health data to examine how health insurance affects birth outcomes, by affecting the composition of births as well as health care receipt during pregnancy. Our analysis shows that the expanded insurance reduced fertility of the age group 24-25 by 2.57%, using those aged 27-28 as a control group. Heterogeneity in the fertility response caused composition to shift, such that the provision increased the share of children born to unmarried, minority, or less educated mothers. This shift in the maternal characteristics would have a negative implication on average health of infants born to women in the treatment age group. However, as the provision resulted in expanded private insurance during pregnancy, we also found evidence for improved prenatal care-a higher proportion of mothers starting prenatal visits in the first trimester, and lowered maternal smoking, gestational diabetes and hypertension. The combined effect of the mother's composition shifts and improved prenatal is that the provision did not have a substantial net effect on birth outcomes. 


Ma Jie, a research fellow of Jinhe Center for Economic Research at Xi'an Jiaotong University. He gained his Ph.D in Economics at Indiana University. His research interests include Health Economics and Policy, and Applied Econometrics. He has published several papers on many academic journals like New England Journal of Medicine.

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Edited by: Li Wenwen

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