Economics Building Ivy Covered Sign

Fill out an Econ Alumni Update form to update your address or let us know what you've been up to for an upcoming newsletter.


Continue our tradition of excellence by considering a donation to the department. For more information about the department, CU Foundation, and the support provided, read our brochure.



Working Paper No. 06-01

Making Babies Healthier by Providing a Managed Care Option to California's Poor
Tania Barham, Paul Gertler and Kristiana Raube
January 2006


The first chapter investigates whether mandating a managed care option for California Medicaid beneficiaries improves access to prenatal care and birth outcomes in a traditionally fee-for-service system. We compare two competing models: one that only offers a county-organized health system option (COHS), and the Two Plan Model (TPC) that provides mothers with a choice between the county system and a commercial managed care organization. The results show that while COHS improved access, only the TPC program led to reductions in low-birth weight. The superior health outcomes obtained with TPC might be explained by higher quality care induced by competition among health providers and/or mainstreaming Medi-Cal beneficiaries into commercial organizations that also serve higher income populations.