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The Impact of Private Contracting on Healthcare for the Old and Sick: Evidence from California’s Medicaid ProgramState governments face the classic “make or buy” decision for the provision of Medicaid services. Over the past two decades, the majority of states have outsourced the provision of social insurance through Medicaid Managed Care (MMC) programs. These programs have been extensively studied in the literature – with little evidence of large positive or negative effects. However, m

Abstract

State governments face the classic “make or buy” decision for the provision of Medicaid services. Over the past two decades, the majority of states have outsourced the provision of social insurance through Medicaid Managed Care (MMC) programs. These programs have been extensively studied in the literature – with little evidence of large positive or negative effects. However, most states allowed older and sicker enrollees to remain enrolled in the government run fee for service (FFS) programs. It is possible that these more fragile enrollees could have a different experience in managed care. In this paper we study California’s mandatory enrollment of the senior and persons with disabilities (SPD) population in MMC. We find this mandatory enrollment caused an increased use of the emergency department and transfers between hospitals. This was not simply a hassle cost for enrollees – we also estimate an increase in mortality for the affected population. These effects were strongest for enrollees who had the greatest use of medical services prior to enrollment in MMC – the types of enrollees that might be expected to have a different experience with managed care. Our results suggest the adverse impact of MMC varies by the health of enrollees, which should inform the optimal outsourcing decision for governments.

Type

Working Paper

Author(s)

Craig Garthwaite, Mark Duggan, Adelina Wang

Date Published

2020

Citations

Garthwaite, Craig, Mark Duggan, and Adelina Wang. 2020. The Impact of Private Contracting on Healthcare for the Old and Sick: Evidence from California’s Medicaid ProgramState governments face the classic “make or buy” decision for the provision of Medicaid services. Over the past two decades, the majority of states have outsourced the provision of social insurance through Medicaid Managed Care (MMC) programs. These programs have been extensively studied in the literature – with little evidence of large positive or negative effects. However, m.

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