This paper studies the effects of the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative on health insurance coverage, access to care, health care use, and health outcomes. We exploit a difference-in-differences setup that relies on the discontinuities in the program eligibility criteria. We find that DACA increased insurance coverage. In states that granted access to Medicaid, the increase was driven by an increase in public insurance take-up. Where public coverage was not available, DACA eligibility increased individually purchased insurance. Despite the increase in insurance coverage, we find small or non-significant increases in health care use. There is some evidence that DACA increased demand for mental health services. After 2012, DACA-eligible individuals were also more likely to report a usual place of care and less likely to delay care because of financial restrictions. Finally, we find some evidence that DACA improved self-reported health and reduced depression symptoms, indicators of stress and anxiety, and hypertension. These improvements are concentrated among individuals with income below the federal poverty level.
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