Understanding Variation in Medicaid Enrollment Among Eligible Immigrants

Client: Research on Immigrants
Faculty: Amy Ellen Schwartz and Peter Teitelbaum
Team: Katherine Mary Barbacci, Stacie Carr, Ramona Loftis, Janine Murphy, Kerry Wilbur
Year: 2006
This study examines the influence of state policies and political ideology on Medicaid enrollment among low-income legal immigrants. The welfare reform legislation of 1996 changed welfare policy in the U.S. and had a profound impact on legal immigrants’ access to Medicaid benefits. Welfare reform denied access to federal Medicaid benefits to immigrants who arrived in the United States after August 22, 1996 during their first five years in the U.S. While restricting access at the federal level, welfare reform allowed states to establish substitute policies to maintain Medicaid eligibility for this vulnerable group. Using CPS data from 1998 and 1999, this project utilizes multivariate regression analysis to examine the impact of the availability and generosity of a state’s substitute Medicaid programs and the political ideology of a state’s citizens on Medicaid enrollment among legal immigrants.