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In Goldin, Lurie, and McCubbin (2021), we studied the effect of a randomized outreach experiment to uninsured taxpayers by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). We found that the intervention increased health insurance coverage and reduced middle-age mortality in subsequent years. Kaestner (2021) criticizes our findings as well as a recent study by Miller et al. (2021), which provided evidence that state Medicaid expansions caused reductions in mortality among low-income adults. In neither case does Kaestner provide new empirical evidence or allege an error in analysis—his concerns relate solely to the interpretation and convincingness of the presented results. Here we briefly respond to Kaestner’s criticisms. We conclude that his concerns do not undermine our main empirical finding, which is that the coverage induced by the IRS outreach reduced mortality.
This article is a response to Mortality and Science: A Comment on Two Articles on the Effects of Health Insurance on Mortality by Robert Kaestner (EJW, September 2021).