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Health Aff (Millwood). 2016 Dec 1;35(12):2249-2258.

Previous Medicaid Expansion May Have Had Lasting Positive Effects On Oral Health Of Non-Hispanic Black Children.

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Brandy J. Lipton ( is a health economist at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, in Rockville, Maryland.
Laura R. Wherry is an assistant professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles.
Sarah Miller is an assistant professor at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor.
Genevieve M. Kenney is a senior fellow and codirector of the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute, in Washington, D.C.
Sandra Decker is a senior fellow at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.


Healthy tooth development starts early in life, beginning even before birth. We present new evidence suggesting that a historic public health insurance expansion for pregnant women and children in the United States in the 1980s and 1990s may have had long-lasting effects on the oral health of the children gaining eligibility. We estimated the relationship between adult oral health and the extent of state public health insurance eligibility for pregnant women, infants, and children throughout childhood separately for non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic blacks, and Hispanics. We found that expanded Medicaid coverage geared toward pregnant women and children during their first year of life was linked to better oral health in adulthood among non-Hispanic blacks. Our results also suggested that there might be a benefit to expanded public health insurance eligibility for children at ages 1-6 among non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics. Medicaid expansions appear to have had long-lasting effects for certain low-income children and helped narrow racial/ethnic disparities in adult oral health.


Disparities; Health Economics; Medicaid; Oral Health Care

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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