Laura Wherry

I am an assistant professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.


Google Scholar


Division of General Internal Medicine & Health Services Research
1100 Glendon Avenue, Suite 850 (Room 859)
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Phone: (310) 794-3934

Working Papers

The Impact of Insurance Expansions on the Already Insured: The Affordable Care Act and Medicare with Colleen Carey and Sarah Miller, Revise and resubmit at AEJ: Applied Economics

Some states that have not adopted the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansions have stated concerns that the expansions may impair access to care and utilization for those who are already insured. We investigate such negative spillovers using a large panel of Medicare beneficiaries. Across many subgroups and outcomes, we find no evidence that the expansions reduced utilization among Medicare beneficiaries, and can rule out all but very small changes in utilization or spending. These results suggest that the expansions in Medicaid did not impair access to care or utilization for the Medicare population.

Multi-generational Impacts of Childhood Access to the Safety Net: Early Life Exposure to Medicaid and the Next Generation's Health with Chloe East, Sarah Miller, and Marianne Page, Under Review

We examine multi-generational impacts of positive in utero and early life health interventions. We focus on the 1980s Medicaid expansions, which targeted low-income pregnant women, and were adopted differently across states and over time. We use Vital Statistics Natality files to create unique data linking individuals’ in utero Medicaid exposure to the next generation’s health outcomes at birth. We find strong evidence that the health benefits associated with treated generations’ in utero access to Medicaid extend to later offspring in the form of higher average birth weight and decreased incidence of very low birth weight. Later childhood exposure to Medicaid does not lead to persistent health effects across generations. The return on investment is substantially larger than suggested by evaluations of the program that focus only on treated cohorts.

Economics Publications

Four Years Later: Insurance Coverage and Access to Care Continue to Diverge Between ACA Medicaid Expansion and Non-Expansion States with Sarah Miller, AEA Papers and Proceedings , 2019

The Long-Term Effects of Early Life Medicaid Coverage with Sarah Miller, Journal of Human Resources, Forthcoming, Appendix

Childhood Medicaid Coverage and Later Life Health Care Utilization with Sarah Miller, Robert Kaestner, and Bruce Meyer, Review of Economics and Statistics, 2018, Appendix

Saving Teens: Using a Policy Discontinuity to Estimate the Effects of Medicaid Eligibility with Bruce Meyer, Journal of Human Resources, 2016, Appendix

Health Policy Publications

State Medicaid Expansions for Parents Led to Increased Coverage and Prenatal Care Utilization Among Pregnant Mothers, Health Services Research, 2018

State and Federal Coverage for Pregnant Immigrants: Prenatal Care Increased, No Change Detected for Infant Health with Rachel Fabi, Adam Schickedanz, and Brendan Saloner, Health Affairs, 2017

Health and Access to Care During the First 2 Years of the ACA Medicaid Expansion with Sarah Miller, New England Journal of Medicine, 2017

Previous Medicaid Expansion May Have Had Lasting Positive Effects on Oral Health of Non-Hispanic Black Children with Brandy Lipton, Sarah Miller, Sandra Decker, and Genevieve Kenney, Health Affairs, 2016

Early Coverage, Access, Utilization, and Health Effects of the Affordable Care Act Medicaid Expansions: A Quasi-Experimental Study with Sarah Miller, Annals of Internal Medicine, 2016

The Role of Public Health Insurance in Reducing Child Poverty with Genevieve Kenney and Benjamin Sommers, Academic Pediatrics, 2016

Predicting High Cost Pediatric Patients: Derivation and Validation of a Population-Based Model with Lindsey Leininger and Brendan Saloner, Medical Care, 2015

Using Self-Reported Health Measures to Predict High-Need Cases among Medicaid-Eligible Adults with Marguerite Burns and Lindsey Leininger, Health Services Research, 2015

Medicaid Family Planning and Related Preventive Care, American Journal of Public Health, 2013