Publications

Can Food Stamps help to reduce Medicare spending on diabetes?

Diabetes is rapidly escalating amongst low-income, older adults at great cost to the Medicare program. We use longitudinal survey data from the Health and Retirement Study linked to administrative Medicare records and biomarker data to assess the relationship between Food Stamp receipt and diabetes health outcomes. We find no significant difference in Medicare spending, outpatient utilization, diabetes hospitalizations and blood sugar (HbA1c) levels between recipients and income-eligible non-recipients after controlling for a detailed set of covariates including individual fixed effects and measures of diabetes treatment compliance. As one-third of elderly Food Stamp recipients are currently diabetic, greater coordination between the Food Stamp, Medicare, and Medicaid programs may improve health outcomes for this group.