Medicaid expansion in social context: Examining relationships between Medicaid enrollment and county-level food insecurity

J Health Care Poor Underserved

Objective: To evaluate the relationship between states' expansion of Medicaid and county-level food insecurity, testing for the moderating effects of social multipliers.

Methods: We estimated the effect of county/state Medicaid characteristics (baseline enrollment, enrollment changes, and expansion timing) on county-level food insecurity during two expansion periods (2009-2012; 2012-2014) using a pre-post design among expansion states to control for political culture.

Results: Increased county Medicaid enrollment in early expansion states was associated with lower food insecurity in 2012 (b=-0.10%, p=.02). The impact of early expansion persisted into 2014 (b=-0.06%, p=.01), suggesting a social learning effect. Focusing on a single state (California) to control more fully for socio-political norms revealed larger social multiplier effects.

Conclusions: Medicaid expansion was associated with reduced food insecurity, the most pronounced associations evident in counties with the largest Medicaid expansions. Cross-county variation may reflect both social learning and social norms, though evidence for the latter is inconsistent.

Londhe S, Ritter G, Schlesinger M. Medicaid expansion in social context: Examining relationships between Medicaid enrollment and county-level food insecurity. J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2019;30(2):532-546. PMID: 31130536. DOI: 10.1353/hpu.2019.0033.

Publication Year: 
2019
Resource Type: 
Peer Reviewed Research
Study Design: 
Other Study Design
Social Determinant of Health: 
Food/Hunger
Outcomes: 
Social Needs/ SDH
Screening Research: 
No