Existing scientific literature suggests the U.S. government nutritional program known as WIC improves birth outcomes of children, but new SMU research is unable to find either a positive or negative impact on infant health. WIC, which serves 53 percent of all U.S. infants, is for low-income pregnant women and their young children under five who are at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level.
The news wire service United Press International has covered the research of SMU economist Manan Roy, a doctoral candidate and adjunct professor in the SMU Department of Economics. Roy analyzed new federal data about insured infants to compare public health insurance with private health insurance. Her analysis found that among the insured, infants in low-income families are better off under the nation’s government-funded public health insurance than infants covered by private insurance.
In the fierce national debate over a new federal law that requires all Americans to have health insurance, it’s widely assumed that private health insurance can do a better job than public insurance. But a first-of-its-kind study of newly available government data found just the opposite for infants covered by insurance, says economist Manan Roy in SMU's Department of Economics.