Medicaid Access During Economic Distress: Lessons Learned From the Great Recession

Joseph Benitez, Victoria Perez, Eric Seiber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Medicaid enrollment increases during economic downturns which imply households using the public health insurance program during coverage gaps due to job loss. However, we provide new evidence demonstrating that the Medicaid program’s countercyclical protections against economic downturns are largely concentrated in states with more generous Medicaid eligibility criteria for adults. We exploit the timing of the 2007-2009 Great Recession to compare trends in recession-linked Medicaid enrollment between states with more generous Medicaid eligibility guidelines and states with more restrictive guidelines. For similar effects of the recession, Medicaid enrollment grew larger states in with more generous Medicaid programs. Our work suggests for every 100 people becoming unemployed in states with a restrictive Medicaid program, about 96 would be uninsured, and about 11 would enroll in Medicaid. Conversely, about 49 would be uninsured in a state with more generous Medicaid guidelines and 57 would enroll in Medicaid.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)490-501
Number of pages12
JournalMedical Care Research and Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


  • Great Recession
  • Medicaid
  • job loss
  • safety net
  • uninsurance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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