Harvard: Children's health programs pay for themselves over time

Emily Rappleye (Twitter) - Print  | 

For every dollar invested in low-income children's healthcare and education, the federal government earns back a net return of $0.47 over time, according to the findings of a new Harvard study featured by The Wall Street Journal.

The study examined 133 policies implemented over the past 50 years in terms of economic payoff. Some of the policies reviewed include Medicare, Medicaid expansion, housing programs and unemployment insurance.

They found money spent on programs targeted at children improved health and likelihood of attending college, which in turn improved earning power and taxable income over time. The researchers looked at Medicaid beginning in the 1970s, when the program was extended to more pregnant women and mothers. The expansion cost $3,473 per mother on average, plus costs associated with reduced workforce participation. However, by the time a child who benefited from Medicaid reached their mid-30s, they had offset the costs of the program entirely and generated $7,014 more in government revenue, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The researchers found programs for adults generally did not pay for themselves, but not all programs are intended to do so.

Read the full story here.

 

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