Published: December 3, 2019

Currie, J., & Duque, V. (2019). Medicaid: What Does It Do, and Can We Do It Better?. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science686(1), 148-179.


Janet Currie & Valentina Duque


This article provides an overview of the Medicaid program and summarizes the evidence about its effectiveness in terms of providing insurance and promoting health. The evidence shows that Medicaid has improved the lives of low-income people since its creation in 1965. Expansions in Medicaid have led to increases in coverage and access to medical care, reductions in medical debt, and improvements in health outcomes with little evidence of significant reductions in beneficiaries’ labor supply. Yet there are concerns around the program’s high and increasing costs, the quality of care provided, and difficulty accessing Medicaid-funded care. We discuss some of the proposed Medicaid reforms meant to address these problems in light of previous evidence.