Measuring the Impact of Health Insurance Benefits on Poverty

October 10, 2018 12:00 pm

Sponsored by the Center on Poverty and Social Policy

Public health insurance benefits are at a cross-roads. On the one hand, they are threatened by Medicaid restrictions and rollbacks. At the same time, support is growing for further Medicaid expansions and “Medicare for all” policies, such as the New York Health Act (NYHA), a universal health insurance program with no out-of-pocket expenditures for care or insurance. How would such policy changes affect poverty? At this brown-bag seminar, Professors Sanders Korenman (bio) and Dahlia Remler (bio), along with research scientist Rosemary Hyson, all of the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College, will explain how they use the Health-Inclusive Poverty Measure (HIPM), one which includes a need for basic health insurance in the threshold and counts health insurance benefits as resources to meet that need, to calculate the direct effects of health insurance benefits on poverty. Their method is analogous to the way analysts use the Census Bureau’s Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to calculate the direct effects of non-health benefits. (SPM can show poverty reductions due to lower out-of-pocket medical spending, but not due to health insurance benefits meeting a basic need for care or insurance.) Among the estimates they will present are impacts on poverty of the proposed NYHA, as well as various Medicaid rollback scenarios.

Resource: Rethinking Elderly Poverty: Time for a Health Inclusive Poverty Measure? NBER Working Paper No. 18900.